Modern drug prescribing at SUHT cuts doctors' hours

A modern method of prescribing drugs at Southampton’s teaching hospitals is helping to cut doctors’ hours.

The practice, known as non-medical prescribing, allows nurses and pharmacists to prescribe medication, freeing up doctors to carry out other essential tasks at Southampton General Hospital.

The nutrition support team, one of a number of teams carrying out non-medical prescribing, saved a total of 519 hours – 13 weeks – of doctor time last year alone.

It also means patients in certain clinics do not have to wait to receive their drugs from a consultant.

It only became possible for nurses and pharmacists to carry out non-medical prescribing in the last few years, with Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust sending four pharmacists on a professional course at the first opportunity in 2004.

There are now more than 30 pharmacists and nurses who prescribe right across SUHT for acutely unwell patients as well as those with longer-term needs.

Peter Austin, senior pharmacist, said: “Non-medical prescribing allows us to work with doctors to cut the time they need to spend with certain patients and therefore allows them to spend more time with other patients.

“Our nutrition team saved 519 hours of doctor time in 2008 and there are many other non-medical prescribers in the Trust who have also reduced doctors’ workloads, making it a very useful way of working.”

Posted on Tuesday 25 August 2009