Nursing associates set to administer medications under PGDs

Health Education England recommends that nursing associates be allowed to administer medications under patient group directions.

New medicines advisory guidance by Health Education England (HEE) has revealed that nursing associates should be allowed to administer medications without a specific patient-named prescription under patient group directions.

The news comes only days after the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revealed a list of clinical skills nursing associates should be competent in.

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What is a PGD? Patient Group Directions (PGDs) currently allow nurses to supply and administer prescription-only medicines (POMs) to patients using their own assessment of patient need, without necessarily referring back to a doctor for an individual prescription.

PGDs are used in both primary and secondary care settings, usually by nurses or pharmacists, for commonly used medications that pose a low clinical risk to patients.

Commonly included medications include; paracetamol, flu vaccinations, salbutamol nebulisation, oxygen, peptic and various laxatives - but included medications are dependent on the area of clinical practice and the scope of the practitioner.

Currently, Nursing Associates, as a new profession, are not on the list of professions lawfully allowed to administer medicines under a PGD but HEE guidelines say this is likely to change.

In the document from Health Education England they state;

Providers consider Nursing Associates should be able to administer some medicines under PGDs as this would be advantageous to patient care without compromising on safety.

Once regulated, a Case of Need15 would need to be made by NHS England through the Department of Health Non-Medical Prescribing Board, to seek agreement from Ministers for a public consultation.

HEE added however that nursing associates cannot be added to the approved list until they formally become a regulated role and a public consultation should need to first take place.

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