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CQC Safer Management of Controlled Drugs Report

To learn about current risks and best practices, CQC attended the NHS England controlled pharmaceuticals local intelligence networks around the nation.

Key concerns in 2022 were around:

  • ineffective governance arrangements for controlled drugs in health and care services
  • diversion of controlled drugs, by both non-registered staff as well as health and care professionals
  • the need for services to factor in the timescales required to obtain a controlled drugs licence from the Home Office
The Safer Management of Controlled Drugs, Care Quality Commission July 2023

The report also includes an analysis of prescription data and outlines primary care trends in  2022 compared to last year: 

  • Across NHS services, the total number of controlled medicines prescribed in NHS primary care increased slightly, by less than 0.5%. While the total number of private medicines in independent primary care  increased by 71%, of which 94% were Schedule 2 medicines. 
  •  Prescriptions of drugs authorized to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) such as dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine and methylphenidate have increased among both NHS and independent prescribers. 
  •  The number of non-medical prescriptions has increased overall, with pharmacists now making just over half. 

Working together in local systems is a key recommendation for improving the safer use of controlled substances. CQC said that this will improve how controlled medicines are prescribed, administered and monitored, as better cooperation and partnerships can lead to better outcomes for people. 

Find out more about the Controlled drug annual update 2022 here

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