CQC report on the safer management of controlled drugs for 2014

 In Improving Compliance, Medicines Management Processes, Pharmacy Information, Regulations and Standards

This report is an annual update provided by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on the management of controlled drugs (CDs). One of the main changes is that community pharmacies can only legally supply controlled drugs from official prescription form stationery. In England, this would be NHS prescriptions (FP10), private prescriptions (FP10PCD), or for controlled drug stocks, the requisition form (FP10CDF). Existing methods for ordering from Ashtons remain the same, but obtaining supplies from a local community pharmacy can only be done with the correct stationery.

Non-medical prescribing of CDs has increased by 12% for nurses and by 56% for pharmacists compared with the previous year.

Private prescribing accounts for about 0.06% of overall controlled drug prescribing. The total number of Schedule 2 and 3 controlled drug items prescribed privately in 2014 was 38,913, which is an increase of about 5% compared with 2013.

The CQC has updated the controlled drugs governance self-assessment tool and this is available to download from their website. It includes the following areas:

  • Access to CDs
  • Standard operating procedures
  • Management of stocks on the wards
  • Transport
  • Recording and auditing CDs
  • Incident reporting
  • Information sharing

CQC report recommendations

  • Controlled drug accountable officers should share organisational learning from controlled drug-related incidents.
  • CQC should advise small organisations of the exemption for appointing a controlled drug accountable officer.
  • NHS England should provide guidance so that organisations understand what they need to report to the CD Local Intelligence Network (LIN).
  • NHS England lead controlled drug accountable officers should engage with and formalise the support of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) so that monitoring controlled drug prescription activity is a higher priority.


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