A new report has highlighted the success of measures to allow specially trained nurses and pharmacists to prescribe medication in England since their introduction in 2006.
According to analysis by the universities of Southampton and Keele, which was funded by the Department of Health, the once-controversial new powers have been widely accepted by patients and have had no negative impact on care quality.
It was found that 86 per cent of nurses and 71 per cent of pharmacists are now trained as prescribers, with most of these offering prescriptions in primary care settings.
The report also suggested that enabling non-medical prescribing in more situations, such as among patients with more than one condition, could offer further benefits.
Alison Blenkinsopp, professor of the pharmacy practice at Keele University, said: "Our research shows that nurse and pharmacist independent prescribers are now making a substantial contribution to patient care which is safe and of good quality."
Earlier this month, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence noted that guidance it published in 2008 has helped to reduce the amount of antibiotics that were previously being unnecessarily prescribed to prevent infective endocarditis.See all the latest jobs in Medical Devices