Press Release

Minister Harney welcomes Nurse and Midwife Prescribers

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, today, 30th November, 2007 congratulated the first group of nurses and midwives to successfully complete the Certificate in Nursing (Nurse/Midwife Prescribing) Programme at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

“Improving patient care is at the heart of the nurse and midwife prescribing initiative and I believe that patients will receive earlier interventions and therefore a better service” the Minister said.

In May of this year the Minister put in place legislative provisions to allow for nurse/midwife prescribing. Patient safety is paramount and will be protected by the combination of the specific requirements to be met under the Regulations, i.e. the nurse must be employed by a health service provider and may only prescribe the drugs relevant to the setting in which they are employed, together with the requirements introduced by the nursing board (An Bord Altranais).

The Minister congratulated the 22 new nurse and midwife prescribers. “This is a very significant development for the nursing and midwifery professions. The introduction of nurse/midwife prescribing represents a real and important change in nursing practice in Ireland which will deliver, over time, better and timelier access to medications by patients”she said.

The new prescribers will be working in the clinical areas of cardiology, coagulation, respiratory, dermatology, wound care, breast care, diabetes, A&E, midwifery, sexual health, occupational health.

The Minister especially thanked the Consultants whose participation in the project as mentors to the nurses and midwives was vital to its successful outcome. The Minister also acknowledged the significant contribution of the Health Service Executive and An Bord Altranais in developing the mechanisms and safeguards required to facilitate the safe introduction of this new initiative.

A Resource and Implementation Group which was established by the Minister in 2006 is continuing its work in overseeing the roll-out of nurse/midwife prescribing on a national basis.

A further 20 nurse and midwife prescribers are due to graduate from UCC in December with up to 100 expected to graduate nationally in 2008.