Prescribing – New professions

The process for a new profession to gain prescribing rights under the Medicines Act 1981 is rigorous and takes time, but this rigor is necessary.

The process must ensure:

  • the outcome is robust
  • patient safety is assured, and any risks that may arise for patients are identified and mitigated
  • prescribing rights are implemented smoothly and improve integration of a patient’s medicines plan
  • the competencies and education requirements necessary for new prescribers are clearly described
  • system and funding impacts are identified.

At the outset of this process rigorous testing of the rationale to initiate a new prescriber proposal needs to occur to ensure that:

  • extension of non-medical prescribing is the best solution to the identified issue/problem (non-regulatory solutions are preferred and should be given full consideration)
  • the benefits and costs/risks are identified
  • the Ministry and the regulatory authority/professional groups are able to make an informed decision regarding the priority that should be given to the proposal.

Developing a business case

If the analysis identifies the prescribing route as the best solution, the next step is for the profession to develop a strong business case. The Ministry of Health can be contacted at any stage of the process if the profession needs to discuss the business case development, as shown in the prescribing decision tree.

Prescribing decision tree

This flowchart shows the following steps.

  1. What is the issue/problem? Identify options (regulatory and non-regulatory) and costs/benefits of each.
  2. Is prescribing a preferred option? Is it necessary to achieve the desired outcome?
  3. Is prescribing a priority for your Professional Group? Note: Significant resource required for a prescribing proposal.
    • If yes, go on to step 4.
    • If no, flowchart ends.
  4. Develop a business case seeking feedback on problem/issue identified, identified options and preferred option (Meet with Ministry of Health and discuss your business base).
  5. Is there support for the business case?
    • If yes: Meet with the Ministry of Health to discuss next steps.
    • If no: Review the identified problem and options; return to step 1.


If you want to contact the Ministry about your interest in a new prescriber group, email

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