The new Medical Devices Bill introduced in the parliament on Friday suggests increasing the range of professions able to prescribe medicines in low-risk.
A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) statement said it will be similar to what midwives and paramedics do now with pain relief and physiotherapists with anti-inflammatories. However, so far there is no official confirmation about pharmacists being included.
According to the DHSC, there will be safeguards and limits on what medications are eligible. The government will work with the NHS and stakeholders to determine what medicines could be eligible and in what circumstances, it added.
The bill, which was announced in the Queen’s speech in October 2019, introduces new regulations on medical devices, such as pacemakers, breast implants and ultrasound imagers, to ensure patient safety and also gives NHS hospitals the power to use innovative, personalised medicines for unique cancers and diseases.
This means hospitals can use patient tissue and DNA samples to tailor treatments to individual patient when other medicines have failed or to develop drugs that have a shelf-life of minutes and would otherwise be unavailable to the patient.
The regulations related to medical devices asks companies to register medical devices with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and ensures suppliers follow strict safety checks and enables tough enforcement action if something goes wrong.
The Health Secretary will have the power to disclose specific information about devices to the members of the public and the healthcare system, subject to appropriate safeguards, when there are serious patient safety concerns.