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Monitoring of controlled drugs improves

A report released by the Care Quality Commission has said the monitoring of controlled drugs has improved, though more professional guidance is needed

A report released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care, has said the monitoring of controlled drugs has improved, though more guidance is needed from professional bodies.

The findings were published in the organisation's third annual paper analysing the progress of the Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations 2006 . These regulations were introduced in England in 2007 with guidance concerning the clinical use of controlled drugs – a group of medicines, including some painkillers and tranquilisers that have the potential to be abused.

The regulations followed the Shipman Inquiry – an independent public inquiry examining issues related to the case of Harold Shipman, the GP who diverted supplies of controlled drug diamorphine to kill at least 15 and up to 200 patients without detection. The inquiry found ineffective monitoring had played some part in the case.

The latest CQC paper analysed the progress of the regulation's recommendations, which include the appointment of an officer in each healthcare organisation who is accountable for the safe and secure management of controlled drugs, as well as the introduction of formal inspections of providers of health and social care by various bodies including the General Medical Council (GMC).

The CQC found the role of accountable officer was now embedded in healthcare organisations, and that these organisations were developing systems and services to manage controlled drugs more effectively. Healthcare professionals were also found to be sharing information addressing concerns held about controlled drugs, as well as their best practice, at both a local and national level.

The report does, however, warn against such gains being lost due to the current government cutbacks.

Professional bodies were also encouraged to do more regarding the use of controlled drugs, with key recommendations in the report including suggestions to develop guidance on the appropriate use of opioids and amphetamines for all sectors.

It was also recommended that the Department of Health (DH) should analyse regulations and guidance involving the requisition of controlled drugs to better capture data in line with the original policy intent.

The full report is avaialbe from the CQC website: http://www.cqc.org.uk/publications.cfm?fde_id=16013

5th August 2010

From: Healthcare

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