Costs, consequences and value for money in non-medical prescribing: a scoping review

Saeideh Babashahi, Nicola Carey, Yogini Jani, Kath Hart, Natalia Hounsome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives Non-medical prescribing (NMP) is a key feature of the UK healthcare system that refers to the legal prescribing rights granted to nurses, pharmacists and other non-medical healthcare professionals who have completed an approved training programme. NMP is deemed to facilitate better patient care and timely access to medicine. The aim of this scoping review is to identify, synthesise and report the evidence on the costs, consequences and value for money of NMP provided by non-medical healthcare professionals. Design Scoping review Data sources MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, Scopus, PubMed, ISI Web of Science and Google Scholar were systematically searched from 1999 to 2021. Eligibility criteria Peer-reviewed and grey literature written in English were included. The research was limited to original studies evaluating economic values only or both consequences and costs of NMP. Data extraction and synthesis The identified studies were screened independently by two reviewers for final inclusion. The results were reported in tabular form and descriptively. Results A total of 420 records were identified. Of these, nine studies evaluating and comparing NMP with patient group discussions, general practitioner-led usual care or services provided by non-prescribing colleagues were included. All studies evaluated the costs and economic values of prescribing services by non-medical prescribers, and eight assessed patient, health or clinical outcomes. Three studies showed pharmacist prescribing was superior in all outcomes and cost saving at a large scale. Others reported similar results in most health and patient outcomes across other non-medical prescribers and control groups. NMP was deemed resource intensive for both providers and other groups of non-medical prescribers (eg, nurses, physiotherapists, podiatrists). Conclusions The review demonstrated the need for quality evidence from more rigorous methodological studies examining all relevant costs and consequences to show value for money in NMP and inform the commissioning of NMP for different groups of healthcare professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere067907
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ open
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2023


  • Health economics
  • Health policy


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