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Radiographer Supplementary Prescribing

Radiographer Supplementary Prescribing 6 Supplementary prescribing by radiographers comes under the Medicines for Human Use (Prescribing Order) 2005, SI2005, No 765. Its purpose is to support and enhance the delivery of imaging and/or radiation therapy services to patients.

A supplementary prescriber can prescribe any medicine, including controlled drugs, for any condition within their competence. The scope of supplementary prescribing is an issue to be agreed in a patient’s Clinical Management Plan (CMP) and will be for the medical judgment of the independent prescriber (doctor or dentist only).

Scope of Practice

Radiographer prescribers must only prescribe within their scope of practice and understand that if they change clinical areas they will require a period of training before they are competent to prescribe in a new area of practice.

The radiographer supplementary prescriber is responsible for the continuing care of patients who have been clinically assessed by the independent prescriber.

The education and training programme in supplementary prescribing ensures radiographers are equipped with the principles of prescribing to enable them to be safe, effective and cost-effective prescribers.

An individual’s scope of practice must fall within the overall scope of the profession, therefore an individual’s prescribing practice must fall within the overall prescribing scope of the profession.

The Allied Health Professions Competency Framework published in 2004 by the National Prescribing Centre provides useful prescribing information:

Radiographer prescribers should not be asked to prescribe for patients to make up for short-falls in other professional prescribing groups.

Radiographers are not permitted to prescribe medicines for animals.

Registration and Professional Indemnity Insurance

Radiographer supplementary prescribers are professionally accountable for their own actions, including prescribing decisions. Where a radiographer is appropriately trained and qualified as a supplementary prescriber, and prescribes as part of his or her duties with the consent of their employer, the employer may also be vicariously liable for the actions and decisions of their staff.

Many employers now expect individual health professionals to hold their own personal insurance in addition to any employer vicarious liability insurance that may be in force.

The Department of Health’s guide to implementation of supplementary prescribing, advises all supplementary prescribers to ensure that they have professional indemnity or insurance.

Radiographers who are members of the Society of Radiographers (SoR) benefit from personal Professional Indemnity Insurance as part of their membership.

In order for their Professional Indemnity Insurance to be in force (subject to the terms of the policy), the SoR member must:

  • Hold current registration with the HPC
  • Be practising lawfully

Supplementary prescribing is accepted as within the overall scope of the radiography profession and due to the requirement for a radiographer to be practicing lawfully for Professional Indemnity Insurance to be in force, in order that prescribing is covered as part of an individual’s Professional Indemnity Insurance the member must have an HPC annotation showing their prescribing status as a supplementary prescriber.

SoR members do not need to inform the SoR of their prescribing status, but they must not prescribe until they are satisfied that their HPC entry has been updated.

Radiographers who are not members of the SoR will need to ensure they have adequate insurance in place for their practice. They may be personally liable for any costs if they are not adequately or appropriately insured.

All radiographers who are employed should be covered by their employer under vicarious liability for civil wrongs committed by the employee in the course of their employment. All radiographers who are employed should also be covered by Employers’ Liability if they injure a colleague at work. Employers should have insurance in place to cover their ‘vicarious’ and ‘employer’ liabilities.

Employers may expect individual health professionals to hold their own personal insurance in addition to any employer vicarious liability insurance that may be in force. Radiographers who wish to join the SoR in order to gain PLI and a variety of other benefits and professional support are very welcome and should contact

Standards for Prescribing

The HPC is in the process of developing and compiling the standards of proficiency that will be required by all HPC registrants who wish to use supplementary and/or independent prescribing.

The standards will include the proficiencies required to prescribe safely and effectively. These proficiencies will be in addition to the proficiencies that apply to non-prescribing radiographer practice.

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