Advanced paramedics can now prescribe medications to people who do not require hospital treatment.
Under new UK laws, paramedics who have or are working towards a master’s in their specialty, will be able to issue drugs without delay or such patients being required to visit their GP.
Up to seven in 10 people seen by advanced care paramedics require assistance but not hospital treatment.
Around 700 paramedics are due to be trained to make them qualified to issue prescriptions.
Previous NICE recommendations to train more staff to become advanced paramedics claim such a move could reduce hospital admissions by 13 per cent.
It is hoped the development will free up A&E doctors to treat more needy patients.
Paramedics can now prescribe medications to people not requiring hospital treatment (stock)
WHAT ARE ADVANCED PARAMEDICS?
An advanced paramedic is an experienced member of staff who has undertaken, or is working towards, a master’s degree in a relevant subject.
They must demonstrate expert knowledge, complex decision-making skills and competence in their area of practice.
Advanced paramedics are more senior than specialists but below directors and consultants.
Previous NICE recommendations suggest training more staff to become advanced paramedics could reduce hospital admissions by 13 per cent.
Advanced paramedics can specialise in critical care, where they treat seriously unwell patients, or urgent care, where they respond to those who could be treated at home.
They are also able to administer enhanced pain relief and assess if wounds require stitches.
Source: College of Paramedics
Move allows treatment without delay
Rachel Power, chief executive of The Patients Association, told the BBC the move ‘will make it easier for [patients] to receive treatment at home, eliminate the need to see a second professional in many cases, and reduce the need for transportation into hospital that isn’t clinically necessary.
‘Rather, they will be able to start treatment without delay, which for some will be critical.’
Gemma Walsh, an advanced paramedic who specialises in urgent care, added the development will reduce pressures on GPs and hospitals.
Ms Walsh also believes the new law will allow paramedics to offer patients more complete care, with them already being responsible for making early diagnoses and management plans.
An NHS England spokesperson added: ‘Increasing the range of treatments offered by paramedics closer to people’s homes is another significant step in transforming emergency care, as ambulance clinicians increasingly become part of community urgent treatment services.’
Gemma Walsh, an advanced paramedic who specialises in urgent care, believes the move will reduce pressures on GPs and hospitals, while allowing paramedics to offer complete care