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Health and Social Care Act 2001

Prescribing rights

Section 63: Extension of prescribing rights

321.Section 63 introduces new arrangements for the prescribing of medicines. Currently doctors, dentists and certain specified nurses, health visitors and midwives are authorised to prescribe prescription only medicines for human use. The Review of Prescribing, Supply and Administration of Medicines recommended the extension of prescribing rights to other health professionals.

322.Section 63 amends section 58 of the Medicines Act 1968 which governs the sale, supply and administration of prescription only medicinal products both privately and within the NHS. New subsection (1)(e) enables new registered professional groups to be designated by order for the purpose of prescribing such medicines for human use. For example, physiotherapists may be given prescribing rights for certain drugs e.g. anti- inflammatories. One of the effects of this policy might be to remove the need for routine visits to the GP for continuing care.

323.Subsection (3) provides that the categories of persons who may be granted prescribing rights must be registered health professionals. It includes provision to ensure that health professionals regulated by statute under separate Scottish and Northern Irish legislation will have the same potential right to prescribe.

324.Subsection (5) allows Ministers to provide by order that specified descriptions of appropriate practitioner designated under subsection (1)(e) of section 58 of the Medicines Act 1968 (or nurses, midwives or health visitors designated under subsection (1)(d)) must comply with specified conditions relating to the circumstances of prescribing which may apply to appropriate practitioners .

325.Subsection (7) makes it an offence for a person to prescribe a medicinal product in contravention of a condition imposed under subsection (4A) of section 58 or to prescribe a medicinal product for which he is not an appropriate practitioner.

326.Subsection (8) enables the Secretary of State to establish an advisory body under section 4 of the Medicines Act 1968 , to consider whether prescribing rights should be granted to any additional group of health professionals and to advise on any conditions or limitations that should be applied to their prescribing, prior to the Section coming into force.

Section 64: Regulations and orders

327.Section 64 makes provision about orders and regulations, in particular when they are exercisable by statutory instrument; the parliamentary procedures relating to statutory instruments; and how the powers in question may be exercised.

Section 65: Supplementary and consequential provision etc

328.Section 65(1) and (2) enable the Secretary of State by regulations to make such supplementary, incidental or consequential provision, or such transitory, transitional or saving provision, as he considers necessary to give full effect to the Act. This includes power to amend or repeal any enactment, instrument or document.

329.Subsection (3) provides that such regulations may also be made by the National Assembly for Wales, Scottish Ministers and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland in respect of devolved matters.

Section 66: Interpretation

330.This section contains definitions of certain terms used in the Act. In particular, it provides that “regulations” means regulations made by the relevant authority and defines “the relevant authority”.

Section 67: Minor and Consequential amendments and repeals

331.Section 67 gives effect to Schedule 5 and the repeals specified in Schedule 6. Schedule 5 makes minor and consequential amendments resulting from provisions in the Act. Schedule 6 repeals provisions of enactments listed in that Schedule.

Section 68: Powers of National Assembly for Wales for Wales under amended Acts

332.Section 68 provides that in the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 any reference to an Act amended by this Act is to be treated as a reference to that Act as amended (except as regards the amendments made by section 27 of this Act).

Section 69: Financial provisions

333.Section 69 provides for expenditure relating to the Act to be paid out of money provided by Parliament.

Section 70: Short title, commencement and extent

334.Section 70 gives the short title of the Act and makes provisions for commencement and extent.

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