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New guidance on controlled drugs

The Department of Health has issued two new sets of guidance on record-keeping and the destruction of controlled drugs.

The changes are part of the Government's response to the Shipman Inquiry's fourth report, Safer Management of Controlled Drugs.

Final guidance on record-keeping aims to strengthen the audit trail for controlled drugs.

Pilot studies are under way to examine how patient drug record cards might be used to monitor the amount of drugs such as diamorphine which are left with patients.

For computerised controlled drugs registers, there must be safeguards to ensure the author of each entry is identifiable, to stop records being altered at a later date and that a log of all

data can be recorded for audit.

Interim guidance on the destruction of controlled drugs authorises more health trust executives to act as witnesses provided they are outside the routine supply and administration of controlled drugs.

Changes for schedule two controlled drugs

From July 2006

• Dispensers MUST ascertain whether the drug collector is the patient, their representative or a health care professional

• Dispensers supplying health care professionals on behalf of patients MUST obtain that person's name and address and request evidence of identity, but MAY supply the drug if not satisfied as to the identity of the person

• Running balances and prescriber identification numbers MAY be recorded

• Dispensers MAY request patients' or their representatives' ID and refuse to supply where unsure of ID

From January 2008

• Registers MUST include whether drug collector was the patient, patient's representative or health care professional

• If a health care professional, that person's name and address MUST be included

• Dispensers MUST record whether proof of ID was requested and supplied if dispensing to the patient or their representative

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