Pharmacists to prescribe medication
The first group of pharmacists able to prescribe medication are expected to finish their training next year.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said it was in line with moves already made in Britain, the United States and Canada.
Specially trained pharmacists would be able prescribe medication to patients under the care of their team, under supervision from a designated medical practitioner, who would continue to be responsible for diagnosis and wider patient management.
"This is a natural extension of the experienced clinical pharmacist’s role," Mr Dunne said.
"But this is also about ease of access to services for patients."
A first group of 14 pharmacists was currently undertaking the new postgraduate certificate in pharmacist prescribing,
Half of the trainees currently work in hospitals and the other half in primary care. They are expected to complete their training early next year.
Cabinet had now approved the drafting of regulations under the Medicines Act 1981 and Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 to enable those who have completed the training to become designated prescribers, Mr Dunne said.