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New Models of Prescribing

New Models of Prescribing


New Models of Prescribing (NMOP) aims to make it easier for patients to get their urgent medicines without delay and from the most appropriate healthcare professional. Some prescribers working in Trusts can now write prescriptions for patients that can then be dispensed by community pharmacists rather than waiting for a GP to write the prescription following an outpatient appointment for example.


Prior to the NMOP project, Northern Ireland did not have a mechanism to allow prescribers working at interfaces between HSC Trusts and General Practice to prescribe a medication directly to the patient which can then be dispensed in the community. This means that there is often duplication of work, as the prescriber relies on the patient’s GP to implement their recommendations and ensure that the required medicines are obtained.

In 2020/21, a number of small pilot projects were initiated to test what was needed to allow direct prescribing to the patient by a number of professionals. These included:

  • Outpatient and community physiotherapists writing prescriptions for respiratory symptoms, musculoskeletal problems and lymphoedema (long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues) among other conditions
  • Heart failure nurses prescribing at outpatient appointments to manage symptoms quickly
  • Medical prescribers working in Belfast Trust’s Home Treatment Team prescribing urgent medicines to prevent rapid deterioration of a patient’s mental health

The pilot projects have enabled longer-term funding to be secured under the Integrated Prescribing Programme. This will mean that we can build on the success of NMOP to benefit more patients across Northern Ireland and to consider other patient journeys that may need to access to prescriptions.

What are the benefits of NMOP?

  • NMOP reduces delays in accessing medication that should be started quickly, allowing the patient to access the right medicines, at the right time, from the right person
  • NMOP supports a reduction in unnecessary appointments and promotes a faster recovery, and a self-care approach to health needs
  • NMOP enhances the delivery of tailored interventions to patients, and maximises the use of the professionals’ skills at the point of care
  • NMOP increases care that can be delivered by non-medical prescribers e.g. nurses, physiotherapists
  • NMOP reduces pressure on GPs

All of the pilot projects are being independently evaluated and a summary of the outcomes will be posted here when available.