Nurses have been warned they should not be using remote prescriptions from doctors to administer botox and other injectable cosmetic medicinal products to patients.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council reiterated its position that remote prescriptions should only be used in exceptional circumstances – where medication is needed to save life, avoid serious deterioration in a person's health or alleviate otherwise uncontrollable pain.
The advice, issued in a note called Remote prescribing and injectable cosmetic medicinal products, supports the NMC's Standards for Medicines Management and was developed with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and makes it clear that nurses can only administer an injectable cosmetic medicinal product once they have received a prescription or direction to administer from a prescriber who has completed a comprehensive assessment of the person.
This does not stretch to the issue of remote prescriptions, as if an adverse reaction was to occur, as well as the prescriber being liable for prescribing, the nurse or midwife would be accountable for their assessment of the person and the administration of the product.
The increase in the number of remote prescriptions reflects a growing industry where nurses and midwives work more independently, and often run their own practice.
But the NMC cautioned that all nurses and midwives are personally responsible to ensure they apply the relevant standards and laws to their specific area of practice and risk their registration if they fail to do so.
NMC director of policy and standards, Roger Thompson said: "I would strongly urge nurses and midwives working in aesthetic practice to read this advice in conjunction with the NMC's Standards for Medicines Management.
"As the regulator for the UK's 660,000 nurses and midwives, we are committed to safeguarding the public. This advice will support the registered nurses and midwives working in the field of aesthetic practice to make sure their local policies are fully compliant with the standards."
Head of RCN nursing department, Steve Jamieson, said: "It was important for the RCN to be involved in the development of this advice as we represent a large number of members who work in this growing area of nursing. I recommend that all staff working in this field read the advice."