§ Mr. Sims
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the financial implications of deferring the implementation of nurse prescribing; what information she has on the long-term savings in health care costs which would flow from enabling certain nurses to write prescriptions; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Sackville
Based on the Touche Ross cost-benefit analysis commissioned by the Department, we estimate that postponing the implementation of nurse prescribing will avoid start-up costs of £11 million and annual costs, once all nurse precribers are trained, of £15 million at 1991–92 prices.
The time savings for each prescribing nurse and general practitioner consequential on the implementation of nurse prescribing are unlikely to be translated into reduced expenditure because the relatively small amounts of time saved per week are likely to be used up in a wide range of other activities. The main benefit of nurse prescribing is a speedier and better service for patients, the effects of which cannot be translated into monetary terms. As my hon. Friend knows, we are committed to implementing nurse prescribing as soon as resources permit.