New legislation has been introduced meaning physiotherapists and podiatrists will be able to independently prescribe medication to their patients; care and support minister, Norman Lamb has announced.
The move will mean patients will no longer have to go back to their doctors to get medication after visiting the physiotherapist or podiatrist.
Lamb said: "This change will not only benefit patients by making it more convenient to get treatment but it will also free up valuable GP time."
The Department of Health said podiatrists who treat patients with a wide range of conditions including diabetic foot ulcers and arthritic disorders in the foot and ankle would be able to prescribe medication, more promptly.
Physiotherapists would be able to prescribe medicines for symptoms such as pain and inflammation. The opportunity to prescribe pain relief and other medicines would help many patients to respond more quickly to their treatment.
Advanced practitioners will have to complete a training course approved by the Health and Care Professions Council and will only be able to prescribe medicines relevant to their role.
The full impact of these changes will be felt in summer 2014, when practitioners have completed their courses and are starting to prescribe for their patients.
Phil Gray, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy said: "This is a landmark moment that will lead to patients receiving faster, more effective treatment for their condition."
Joanna Brown, chief executive of the College of Podiatry added: "Not all physiotherapists and podiatrists will be eligible to prescribe medications. It will be for those who meet the criteria and have successfully completed the approved education programmes.
"These people will then be annotated as an independent prescriber on the relevant Health and Care Professions Council register which will then enable them to independently prescribe."