The Welsh GPs have come out in support of the Health Minister on the prescription issue. Under this nurses and pharmacists are eligible to prescribe in Wales. The move has been widely criticized, but the BMA's GP committee endorsed this suggestion.
"GPC Wales welcomes the statement of the Health Minister on the introduction of nurse and pharmacist prescribing in Wales. Doctors are highly trained professionals who should be able to spend more time with those ill patients who need their levels of diagnostic, investigative and treatment skills," said the BMA's GP committee chairman Dr Andrew Dearden. "We can never replace doctors with other health professions but each has their role and areas of expertise. Just as a GP could never fulfill the role of a health visitor for example, a nurse or a pharmacist can never replace the GP as the patients' doctor and first point of medical contact for most people." He added that nurses and pharmacists could fulfill many obligations like prescribing for many self-limiting illnesses that do not need the attention of a GP. "We will wait to see the training criteria for those who wish to take up this new skill. We would expect those who do so to have a level of training equal to the responsibility that they would be taking on. To do anything less would be to put the health of the people of Wales at risk," Dr Dearden added. Valuable appointment time could thus be released for those who really needed it, he stressed.