Thanks to the generous support of The Edward Gostling Foundation, two nurses from our Palliative Care Response Team (PCRT), Alex and Fran, have successfully completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Non-Medical Prescribing at Buckinghamshire New University.
Alex and Fran are both experienced Clinical Nurse Practitioners and have been supporting patients in the community for several years. Qualifying as non-medical prescribers enables them to prescribe urgent medication to control pain and other distressing symptoms so that their patients can be kept comfortable and pain-free at home.
Feedback from patients and carers shows that it can be very difficult for them to talk to their GP in an emergency and out of hours during the night. The fact that Alex and Fran can now prescribe urgent medicine needed is helping to improve our patient care every day. This means that patients may need fewer home visits, enabling Fran and Alex to care for more patients.
Fran says: “The skills that I learnt on the course has a direct impact on the care I can give to patients. On average, I am prescribing five to six times a day, authorising changes in medication that meet the changing needs of patients at home. Many of my prescriptions are just in case medication that can be given quickly if a patient has sudden distressing symptoms such as pain or agitation. It means that patients are not suffering needlessly and it saves a lot of time for both our local GPs and for my colleagues in the Palliative Care Response Team at the Hospice.”
Caroline Kendall, Operations Director at the Edward Gostling Foundation says: “We were delighted to hear that Thames Hospice’s first two ‘nurse prescribers’ have qualified allowing them to deliver vital care and to make such a difference to patients’ quality of life – many congratulations from all of us.”
Training is a key part of Thames Hospice’s strategy to ensure that the skills of our staff are second to none, so that we can continue to provide our patients with the care, dignity and peace they deserve. Thanks to the Foundation’s funding, six more nurses will be able to train as non-medical prescribers over the next three years.
One of the families recently supported by Alex and Fran’s team said:
"We are so grateful that our father died peacefully at home. It would not have been possible without your support and care, especially when we couldn’t reach Dad’s GP.”