Original Research

Enabling legislation in diagnosis and prescribing of medicine by nurses/health practitioners

N Geyer
Curationis | Vol 24, No 4 | a873 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v24i4.873 | © 2001 N Geyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2001 | Published: 28 September 2001

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N Geyer, Democratic nursing organisation of South Africa, South Africa

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The South African health system has undergone major changes over the last 5 - 1 0 years. These rapid changes have not only significantly increased the visibility of the nurse practitioner in South Africa, but are also posing challenges to the profession and health care services that need to be addressed.
In its Health Policies the Government has indicated that the nursing/midwifery profession, as the biggest group of health care professionals, should be the practitioners to provide primary health care services to the communities. But to do this, they require enabling legislation. The “permit system” has been in place for non-pharmacists and institutions other than hospitals and pharmacies to acquire, possess, use and supply medication for a number of years. This system has been fraught with problems mainly due to a lack of clarity on exactly how the system works and the system has been abused. The purpose of this article is to explore the current situation with the aim to analyze the legal framework that exists within which the primary health care services, and specifically the diagnosing and prescribing of medication, could be performed.
The conclusion is made that health legislation has not kept up with the rapid changes in service delivery and are not adequate to empower the nurse to deliver health services. Some recommendations are made for the way forward.


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