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March 2017, changes were made to update the format of this guideline and a recommendation was removed because it was out of date.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

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)