Non-medical prescribing in mental health services
This article examines the role of non-medical prescribing in mental health services through presentation of two case studies. In this sector, non-medical prescribing has been slow to start and is often not developed as fully as other areas of the NHS. There are many benefits to be gained from an expansion of non-medical prescribing, including wider patient choice and more accessible treatment for patients that is regarded as quick and responsive. This article promotes an area of mental health where non-medical prescribing has been embraced, and the value it has for the patient cohort it treats, by looking at the work of an inner-London hospital in the area of alcohol dependency. It is suggested that the role of the non-medical prescriber and their lead on prescribing can provide accessible treatment and good outcomes. Patient feedback shows this modern approach to healthcare is also well received. Therefore, these cases and patient outcomes should be shared to promote further expansion of prescribing in the mental health sector.
The provision of non-medical prescribing in mental health services is not uniform; there is a mix of independent and supplementary prescribing which affects service provision and patients' access to medicines, leading to an inequity of treatment (Brimblecombe and Dobel-Ober, 2022).
The majority of prescribing in mental health in the UK takes place in community mental health in the UK takes place in community mental health teams, and drug and alcohol treatment services. New prescribers are introduced as independent prescribers where possible, and this is the preferred model to promote. The idea that non-medical prescribing can provide more effective and accessible healthcare for patients is the ethos that should be central to this promotion.
Non-medical prescribing can make it easier for patients to be seen by offering them a choice of care setting that is closer to their home. This can also provide greater potential for patients to engage with services as they have less distance to travel for treatment, and offer a more personalised level of care, with one-to-one sessions providing psychological interventions and a potential prescription for treatment at the end of the session.
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