This guideline covers systems and processes for using and managing controlled drugs safely in all NHS settings except care homes. It aims to improve working practices to comply with legislation and have robust governance arrangements. It also aims to reduce the safety risks associated with controlled drugs.
This guideline includes recommendations:
- for organisations on developing systems and processes, including governance arrangements, storage, stock checks, transportation and destruction and disposal
- for organisations on record keeping, risk assessment and reporting controlled drug-related incidents for organisations
- for health professionals on prescribing, obtaining and supplying, administering and handling controlled drugs
- for health professionals monitoring use, including governance and systems for reporting concerns and incidents
Who is it for?
- Health professionals providing care for people being treated with controlled drugs, for example, GPs, pharmacists and nurses
- Social care practitioners, for example, home care workers, personal assistants and social workers
- Commissioners of services using controlled drugs, for example, local authorities and clinical commissioning groups
- Providers of services where controlled drugs are used, for example, substance misuse services, ambulance services, home care providers, community pharmacies, community health providers, GPs and other independent prescribers, dispensing doctors, voluntary agencies and charities
- People being treated with controlled drugs, their families or carers, and the public
Guideline development process
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.