GPs are facing a growing number of complex aftercare requests from patients treated abroad, a leading medical defence body has warned.
The MDDUS said it is receiving a growing number of phone calls from members seeking advice on responding to requests by patients to prescribe medication recommended by overseas doctors. For example, couples who have opted to have IVF treatment abroad where costs are lower.
But the MDDUS said GPs should always treat such requests in the same way as if the recommendation came from a UK specialist.
In order to comply with GMC guidance on the matter, the MDDUS advised that any GP who prescribe on the recommendation of another doctor or health professional must satisfy themselves that the prescription is needed, is appropriate for the patient and is within the limits of the prescriber’s competence.
Meanwhile, should a GP opt to prescribe an unlicensed medicine, they must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence of the medicine’s safety and efficacy and also that he or she take responsibility for overseeing the patient’s care, monitoring and follow-up or ensure that arrangements are made for another doctor to do so.
MDDUS medical adviser Dr Mary Peddie commented:‘If you do not consider that you have the appropriate knowledge and experience to prescribe a particular medicine, you do not have to do so. But you should explain your reasons for declining and explain other available options, including the option to seek a second opinion.’