A practitioner who works in Portree has qualified as one of the first-ever paramedic prescribers.
James MacGregor received his qualification from the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, last month, making him one of the first-ever paramedics to write prescriptions.
The project is one of the first of its kind in the world and will give Skye residents faster access to medicines.
James, who works in Urgent Care Centre in Portree or does Out Of Hours cover for the resident GP in Applecross on alternate weekends, became NHS Highland’s first-ever advanced paramedic practitioner as part of the local ten-strong multi-disciplinary Rural Support Team (RST) four years ago. He joined the RST after almost 20 years as a paramedic with the Scottish Ambulance Service.
James said that his advanced paramedic practitioner role is very similar to that of the better-known advanced nurse practitioner and that “the two roles are interchangeable."
James said: “Being a prescriber is a huge improvement for me. Before I qualified, my patients would be seen by me, and I would then do an assessment. After that, I would then have to talk to a doctor or GP to get them to sign off the medication. So having this prescribing qualification changes the whole dynamic significantly.”
Having successfully completed his course, James is now able to assess and also write prescriptions for his patients independently. Currently, however, James is only able to prescribe for patients in a primary care setting, although he said this may change in the future.
While being one of the world’s first, James says he won’t remain alone as a paramedic prescriber for long. Others, including colleagues in NHS Highland, are following in his footsteps.
James said: “A fellow paramedic based at the Broadford is likely to qualify by the end of the year. And more paramedic practitioners are applying, so this time next year there could be a whole different dynamic in the rural support team.”