Reminder to all midwives regarding documentation requirements for prescriptions

Section 41 of the Medicines Regulations 1984 describes the form that a prescription must take. This includes that the prescription must  

“a) be legibly and indelibly printed; and

b) be signed personally by the prescriber with his usual signature (not being a facsimile or other stamp), and dated”;  

What this means in practice is that midwives must personally sign the prescription.  The Council understands that some midwives may use a digital signature on their prescriptions however this is not an option available to midwives under the current legal framework. As a refresher on the legal requirements of a prescription please refer to the Medicines Regulations which can be found here Medicines Regulations 1984

Medsafe has published an alert communication on the use of tramadol during breastfeeding in July 2017.  Its expert advisory committee considered that it may be helpful for midwives and general practitioners to be made aware of this alert communication. The College of Midwives has issued the very helpful Prescribing Information Reminder and Medsafe Alert re Codeine and Tramadol on the prescribing of controlled drugs and of tramadol, and on the use of tramadol and codeine during breastfeeding.

ACC, the Ministry of Health, the Health Quality & Safety Commission, and Foetal Anti-Convulsant Syndrome New Zealand (FACS NZ) have worked with 15 clinicians and consumer advocates to create and distribute booklets for health professionals and women on the risks and benefits of antiepileptic medication for pregnant women.  It is important to remember that antiepileptic medicine is used to treat not just epilepsy, but also pain and mood regulation The booklets can be found at ACC Supporting Treatment Safety

In 2014 changes occurred to legislation which impact on midwives' ability to prescribe controlled drugs.  This presentation provides information on the Medicines Amendment Act 2013 and the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Regulations 2014 and how they will impact on midwifery practice.

The Council's statement on the prescription of controlled medicines by midwives can be found here. Further information on prescribing.