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INO Welcomes Legislation Providing For Nurse/Midwife Prescribing. 01/02/07
Change has huge potential to enhance patient care through the expansion of the role of the nurse and midwife.


PRESS RELEASE, Thursday, February 1st, 2007 

The Irish Nurses Organisation warmly welcomes the initiative, by Ms. Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health and Children, in finalising the necessary legislation which will allow registered nurses and midwives, subject to education, experience and scope of practice, drug prescribing rights in clinical areas.

This development, which the INO has been seeking for many years, has the potential to bring about a significant expansion in the role of the nurse and midwife in all care settings and represents a tremendous milestone with regard to clinical practice.

The extension of nurse and midwife prescribing provides enormous potential and benefit for patients/clients and service delivery including increased accessibility and reduction in treatment time, earlier intervention, improved quality and more effective use of the nursing and midwifery expertise and skills.  The INO is firmly convinced that this is an example of real reform within our health service which will increase the responsiveness of the health service to patient need.

The legislation provides that a registered nurse, the only regulated professional available on a 24 hour 7 day basis in all care settings, subject to having undertaken an approved education programme, with the appropriate clinical experience may prescribe a range of medications within their scope of practice across a wide range of settings including community, continuing care, or acute care. The introduction of nurse and midwife prescribing under an appropriate clinical governance structure will ensure safe and competent practice.
The final drafting of this legislation marks the end of an extended period of research, pilot studies and evaluation all aimed at ensuring that this initiative could be brought forward in a manner which guarantees patient safety, enhances the ability of the nurse or midwife to respond to patient need and to allow for the planned expansion of the role of the registered nurse and midwife in this country.

Speaking today Liam Doran, INO General Secretary said:

“The Minister is to be congratulated on her persistence, focus and determination to bring this positive development to the stage where it is now becoming a clinical reality.  International research and experience has demonstrated that extending prescriptive authority to nurses and midwives enhances patient care outcomes and is shown to be cost efficient and effective.

The INO has worked tirelessly for this expansion of the role, of the nurse and midwife, for many years.    This development has the potential to transform the clinical setting by allowing for the development of new models of care in parallel with the traditional medical model.  This will allow the nurse or midwife, having carried out a full assessment based upon their education, experience and own scope of practice, develop and deliver a more comprehensive package of care to the patient.

The INO now looks forward to working with the Department and the HSE to finalise all of the arrangements, with regard to the education programme and clinical sites, so that this expansion of nursing and midwifery practice can benefit patient care before the end of this year”.




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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie