Non medical prescribing in Scotland: implementation guide

Implementation guidance for nurse independent prescribers and for community practitioner nurse prescribers in Scotland.


For a definition of independent prescribing refer to paragraph 20

109. The terms 'prescribe', 'supply' and 'administer' are often used imprecisely and with overlap of meaning. The definitions used in the Crown Report 36 may be helpful:

Prescribe: in the strict legal sense, as used in the Medicines Act: (i) to order in writing the supply of a prescription only medicine for a named patient; but commonly used in the extended sense of: (ii) to authorise by means of an NHS prescription the supply of any medicine (not just a prescription only medicine) at public expense; and occasionally: (iii) to advise a patient on suitable care or medication (including medicine which may be purchased over the counter).

Supply: to provide a medicine directly to a patient or carer for administration.

Administer: to give a medicine either by introduction into the body, whether by direct contact with the body or not (e.g. orally or by injection), or by external application (e.g. application of an impregnated dressing).

Prescribing and administration

110. Nurse prescribers must ensure separation of prescribing and administering activities wherever possible. See Practice Standard 9. 37

111. In exceptional circumstances, where nurse independent prescribers are involved in both prescribing and administering a patient/client's controlled drug, a second suitably competent person should be involved in checking the accuracy of the medication provided.

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