Great Western Hospital Paramedics lead the way in independent prescribing

Posted: July 26, 2019

They are the first in the country to have passed the course

Five paramedics from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are the first in the country to now have the ability to independently prescribe drugs, after they all passed the national non-medical prescribing course.

The experienced paramedics are employed solely by the Trust, and work in different areas across the hospital including acute wards, Urgent Care, and at the Trust's partner service, the Walk-in centre in Islington Street.

They are all registered paramedics, but have swapped working on the ambulances for an acute hospital environment, working instead at the front door of patient care.

Non-medical prescribing is a multi-professional, integrated practice which was only offered at the end of last year. It is a pioneering approach to patient care, and the five paramedics from Great Western Hospital are some of the very few across the country who are the first to have undertaken and passed this course. 

The strict eligibility criteria for acceptance on prescribing education programmes are reflective of the paramount importance of patient safety.

By being able to prescribe medicines independently, these advanced paramedics will be better able to utilise their skills and provide more timely access to assessment and care, without the need for other appointments or visits from other health professionals.

Ben Jones, advanced paramedic, is one of the talented five who can now add independent prescribing to an already extensive list of autonomous practices he can provide.

"The prescribing role was only opened up to paramedics last year," he said. "We are all very happy to have passed this course and will now be able to treat patients quickly and efficiently, without the need of extra resources or other clinical staff.

"Between the five of us, we cover a number of areas across the hospital. Jenny Tarrant and I work in Urgent Care, Vicky McMahon is an advanced practitioner as part of the hospital at night team, Gary Gustar provides support to the orthopaedics team and Liz Sawyer is over at the Walk-in.

"I am thrilled that we are among the first paramedics in the country to have completed this course and are able to implement the important practice in our every day care."

Annette Baskerville, Matron for Urgent Care, said: "These five amazing paramedics have managed to achieve this skill whilst still continuing to work in these busy, and sometimes stressful, environments.

"I am extremely proud of them all, as the course has only just been opened up to paramedics. It is so impressive to see our staff leading the way in innovative patient care."

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