More people with diabetes will soon find it easier to get the medication they need – by seeing a diabetes nurse specialist for their usual prescription, instead of the doctor.
Health Minister Tony Ryall announced during a visit to Southern DHB today that an additional 15 nurses across six DHBs will soon be able to write prescriptions for their patients with diabetes.
“This brings the total number of diabetes nurse specialists able to prescribe to 27 – and more specialist nurses are likely to start training next year,” Mr Ryall said.
“A ‘demonstration’ by 12 registered nurse specialists practising in diabetes health in 2011-12 showed these nurses could manage their patients safely and effectively, and that patients and nurses were positive about the change.
“This has been so successful, we’ve decided to roll out diabetes nurse specialists prescribing across the whole country so that more New Zealanders with diabetes can benefit,” Mr Ryall said.
“These nurse specialists already independently manage the care of many diabetes patients. Taking on responsibility for prescribing common diabetes medications (under the guidance of a medical practitioner) is a natural extension of that role,” he said.
The new nurses will work in Northland , Counties Manukau, Auckland,
MidCentral, Whanganui, Hutt Valley and Southern DHBs, practising in both primary and specialist care settings.
The twelve original diabetes nurse specialists are treating patients in Auckland, Hutt Valley, MidCentral and Hawkes Bay.
“The number of people with diabetes in New Zealand has almost doubled in the past 10 years and better management of diabetes is a key health priority”, Mr Ryall said.
“This provides opportunities for more effective delivery of diabetes services as well as for further career development for specialist nurses.”
Health Workforce New Zealand has been supporting the New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD) to get the nationwide roll-out underway.
This week the NZSSD and diabetes nurse specialists also launched an online resource for all registered nurses in primary care who are looking after patients with diabetes. www.nzssd.org.nz