13 Aug 2011

More flexible prescription rules please rural medical staff

4:06 pm on 13 August 2011

Medical staff in rural areas are welcoming changes to regulations that do away with some of the time-consuming bureaucratic rules they have had to work under.

Amendments to standing order regulations allow nurses working in rural or remote areas to prescribe treatment for patients without having to have every case reviewed by a doctor or nursing supervisor.

The chair of the Rural General Practice Network, Dr Jo Scott-Jones, says the change will be extremely helpful in cases where the nurse and doctor work in different locations.

He cites the example of the West Coast, where he says a nurse may be based in the Haast but the doctor is in Greymouth.

"The bureaucracy involved in having to sign off every single use of a standing order has been huge, so this is going to make life an awful lot easier and also improve the access of patients to appropriate care."