Jones, Steve, Hemingway, Steve and Williams, Barry (2007) Mental Health Nurses as Non-Medical Prescribers-entering uncharted territory. Mental Health Nursing, 27 (1). pp. 14-17. ISSN 2043-7501

Non-medical prescribers face increased
levels of responsibility relating to the range
of medicines available for them to prescribe.
However, the increasing range of drugs
available to prescribe highlights the need to
assimilate legal knowledge - for example
capacity and consent - to practise safely.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC,
2004) directs nurses to work within their
sphere of practice. Non-medical prescribers
must have a firm knowledge of the NMC and
National Prescribing Centre (NPC) guidelines,
but it is just as important that common law
and statute law should underpin practice
before prescribing can commence. This
paper will explore the background legislation
specific to nurses acting in the non-medical
prescribing role, and further highlight the
challenges in knowledge within the legal
concepts of consent and capacity. The
paper will set out the historical perspective
of non-medical prescribing legislative
influences, with a focus on capacity and
consent legislation.

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