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Five Minute Guide — Number 5

GP practices — Controlled Drugs governance Accountable Officers and GP practices

Healthcare organisations are responsible, through their normal clinical governance arrangements, for monitoring all aspects of the use and management of Controlled Drugs (CDs) by all healthcare professionals who they employ, or with whom they contract. The Government has strengthened these arrangements by requiring PCTs to appoint an Accountable Officer to promote the safe and effective use of CDs and to ensure that appropriate action is taken where concerns are raised. In addition, healthcare organisations, the police, social service authorities and relevant inspectorates are required to share intelligence on CDs, where there are concerns. PCTs will carry out a formal clinical governance review of each organisation they contract with. PCT Accountable Officers are responsible for monitoring the safe and effective use and management of CDs in GP practices. PCTs will arrange for routine inspections of a random sample of GP practices, where CDs are stored. Inspections will usually be announced in advance and may be combined with other visits, where appropriate. All GP practices (and GPs on the PCT’s Performers’ List) will be required to complete a declaration to state whether CDs are stored in their practice, or in a doctor’s bag.


Accountable Officers are also required to establish systems for routinely monitoring the prescribing of CDs via e-PACT, and systems for reporting issues and concerns. Good practice If a GP is intending to prescribe an unusual or high quantity of a CD, the PCT Accountable Officer should be notified.

Risk Management

It is vital that each GP practice has systems in place to minimise risk and to outline what should be done when an incident or error occurs relating to CDs. The following points will help practices identify and demonstrate that they have systems in place to minimise risk when dealing with CDs: • each practice should have clear, written standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place that are known, understood and followed by all staff. The roles and responsibilities of all members of staff should be highlighted • SOPs should cover ordering, storing, administering, recording, and destruction of CDs • all staff should be trained to ensure they have the relevant knowledge and skills to undertake the tasks required of them • staff should know what to do, and who to contact, if they have a concern about an incident or the performance or practice of other healthcare professionals / staff • staff should know who their local Accountable Officer is and how to contact him/her.

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