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Insist on correct procedure for drug spot checks

Under section 19 of the Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations 2006, the accountable officer for your PCT or hospital trust can authorise an inspection of your premises without prior notice.

I was approached by Cambridgeshire PCT on this basis when my partner and practice manager were both away. This was a random inspection and, as far as I know, there was no cause for concern regarding our management and use of controlled drugs. Unfortunately for the PCT, its legal notice was invalid as it did not name the accountable officer and was not signed by her. To make matters worse, not all of the members of the inspecting team arrived with photographic identity documents.

If you are approached by the PCT on this basis, make sure it serves you with a statutory notice signed by the accountable officer, and that members of the team nominated by the accountable officer in that notice all produce photographic identity documents. Otherwise, they have no right to disrupt your day. You are quite entitled to ask them to return another time, preferably by appointment, or, if they continue down the line of compulsion, insist they dot all the 'i's and cross all the 't's.

From Dr Jacob Hussan


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