This guideline covers good practice for developing, authorising, using and updating patient group directions. It also offers advice on deciding whether a patient group direction is needed.

Patient group directions allow healthcare professionals to supply and administer specified medicines to pre-defined groups of patients, without a prescription. This guideline aims to ensure that patient group directions are used in line with legislation, so that patients have safe and speedy access to the medicines they need.

In March 2017, changes were made to update the format of this guideline and a recommendation was removed because it was out of date. Some changes were also made to make recommendation 1.5.4 clearer and to update recommendation 1.1.10.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

People and organisations who are considering the need for, developing, authorising, using and updating patient group directions in the NHS. This includes independent organisations and contractors who are commissioned to provide NHS services.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)