7 February 2024

The RCSLT welcomes support from the House of Lords for extending independent prescribing responsibilities to AHPs, but feel more clarity is urgently needed on timing.

On 6 February 2024, Lord Bradley had an Oral Question in the House of Lords on extending prescribing responsibilities to more allied health professionals.

Responding to Lord Bradley’s call for independent prescribing responsibilities to be extended to a wide range of allied health professionals, health minister, Lord Markham said: “We are keen that every clinician should work at the top of their profession, and to bring in people with allied skills who can supplement that and prescribe as well. In general, we totally agree and want to extend this as far as possible.”

Baroness Whitaker specifically raised the issue of independent prescribing responsibilities for speech and language therapists, and called for clarity on the timing around if and when that might happen Lord Markham promised to write to Lady Whitaker on the timing issue, whilst highlighting he was ‘keen to allow speech therapies and others to prescribe as well.’

Other peers also took part, highlighting a range of issues. Lord Butler of Brockwell argued that future extensions of prescribing responsibilities should not take so long as previous ones, with Lord Markham responding ‘we want to do this as fast as possible’.

While these responses are encouraging on the principle of extending independent prescribing responsibilities to more allied health professionals – and RCSLT is very pleased to see the Government’s keenness to extend them to speech and language therapists specifically – more clarity is urgently needed on timing.

We will be following this up with the Government and you can read the #PrescribingNow coalition’s briefing in support of the question.

Lord Bradley’s question comes almost a year since the launch of the #PrescribingNow campaign on 20 February 2023. If you support the call for the more allied health professionals to be granted independent prescribing responsibilities, there are a range of actions you can undertake detailed on the #PrescribingNow webpage.