What the papers say: Prescriber rights divide UK medics

The British Medical Association quickly condemned last week’s news that Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt plans to extend prescription rights to suitably trained nurses and pharmacists from next spring.

Despite the hostility toward the Government's proposals – 'This is an irres-ponsible, dangerous move. Patients will suffer' (Dr Paul Miller, BMA, The Times, 11 November) – little could dampen the enthusiasm from some nursing and pharmaceutical groups.

David Pruce of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society called the proposals a 'significant milestone' (bbc.co.uk, 10 November), while Beverly Malone of the Royal College of Nursing  said 'the Government must be applauded for taking this step' (The Times, 11 November).

While Hewitt spoke generically of steps towards the creation of a 'truly patient-led NHS' (SourceUK. net, 11 November), nursing organisations addressed concerns raised by the BMA over inadequate training and lack of diagnostic expertise. 'This... is about being a maxi-nurse, not a mini-doctor, and providing the best care for the patient,' said Matt Griffiths of the RCN (The Guardian, 10 November).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow.

www.echoresearch.com www.newsnow.co.uk

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