Review Article

Nurse prescribing and dispensing in South Africa: Gaps in the current legislative framework

Talitha Crowley, Adrew L. Gray, Nelouise Geyer
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 29 | a2582 | DOI: | © 2024 Talitha Crowley, Andrew L. Gray, Nelouise Geyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 December 2023 | Published: 14 June 2024

About the author(s)

Talitha Crowley, School of Nursing, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Adrew L. Gray, Division of Pharmacology, Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Nelouise Geyer, Department of Nursing and Education, Faculty of Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Nurse prescribing and dispensing are central to ensuring universal health access in South Africa.

Objective: To describe the historical development of the legal enablements of nurse prescribing and dispensing in South Africa and highlight gaps in the current legislative framework.

Method: This is a discussion article.

Results: We emphasise significant deficiencies in the current legislative landscape that pose challenges to these vital nursing practices and call for urgent revisions of the legislative framework, particularly the revision of Section 56 of the Nursing Act (33 of 2005) and its related regulations, to formalise authorisation of specialist nurse prescribers in public and private practice. This will also entail an application to the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAPHRA) for the scheduling of substances by authorised nurse prescribers in the defined professional nurse and specialist nurse categories by the Minister of Health.

Conclusion: There is a necessity for prompt legislative revisions to address identified deficiencies.

Contribution: The contribution of this article lies in its advocacy for changes to the regulatory framework to further enable nurses to deliver safe and comprehensive health care.


dispensing; legal framework; nurses; prescribing; South Africa.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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