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OUH radiographers lead the way in non-medical prescribing

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Therapeutic radiographers at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have trained to become non-medical prescribers.

Non-medical prescribing allows certain named groups of non-medical health professionals, such as nurses, pharmacists, dietitians and radiographers, to prescribe medications and drugs.

It removes the delay associated with identifying a hospital doctor or GP to prescribe for the patient (which would also involve a separate consultation).

Therapeutic radiographers were first granted the legal right to train to prescribe in March 2016, and the group from Oxford University Hospitals, which graduated in June 2017, was among the first in the UK to qualify.

The course is run by Oxford Brookes University, but the requirements for training are set out by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Trainees learn for one day a week for the first term of the academic year, followed by 90 hours of supervised practice and 150 hours of face-to-face learning with a designated medical practitioner.

Once qualified, the radiographer can diagnose their patient's condition, identify a potential treatment and advise the patient on the risks, benefits and outcomes of the medication before prescribing it.

Radiographers qualified to prescribe are now making a huge impact on the treatment of cancer patients at OUH, particularly improving access to medication to control symptoms.

Jan Keenan, Trust Lead for Nurse and AHP Prescribing, said:

"This is a really exciting development for our patients: allowing nurses and allied health professionals to prescribe not only offers fast access to treatment, it also reduces the workload of our hospital registrars and GPs.

"Another benefit is that a nurse or AHP will often know their patient very well, having cared for them for some time, so they will have a thorough knowledge of their condition and how they respond to treatment."

The radiographers who have now qualified to prescribe are:

  • Heather Nisbet
    Consultant Therapeutic Radiographer in Radiotherapy Treatment Review
  • Loryn Caulfield
    Consultant Therapeutic Radiographer in Gynaecological Cancer
  • Suzanne Dance
    Advanced Therapeutic Radiographer in Head and Neck Cancer

HCPC standards for prescribing can be found at:

Picture: Suzanne Dance, Loryn Caulfield and Heather Nisbet.