Nurses are now eligible to initiate and renew a Special Authority for medicines they are authorised to prescribe. Effected by the Ministry of Health and Pharmac, the change to prescribing rules will make it easier for New Zealanders to get the medicines they need, since nurse prescribers can now apply directly on behalf of their patient for a government subsidy on prescription medicines without the authorisation of a doctor.
“This change means that patients won’t necessarily need to wait for their GP or specialist doctor to sign off much-needed prescriptions for these medicines,” said Lorraine Hetaraka, the Ministry of Health’s chief nursing officer. “Being able to start patients on medicines straight away will make better use of nurse prescribers’ expertise and time.”
The change, which came into effect on 1 July 2021, will free up time for doctors and could ultimately provide more equitable and timely access to healthcare for patients, especially in rural areas, she said.