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News from today's Controlled Drugs conference

Overseeing the safer management of controlled drugs during COVID-19

Dr Victoria Lea National Controlled Drugs Manager
Care Quality Commission

• assessing and overseeing how health and social care providers manage controlled drugs
• prescribing of and access to controlled drugs during COVID-19: new legislation relating to controlled drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic
• reuse of medicines in a care home or hospice
• Syringe Driver Controlled Drug (CD) related incidents
• maintaining a safe environment for managing controlled drugs: current trends

In her presentation Victoria discussed the points raised in the CQC annual report, key points for 2020 during the pandemic include:

  • the recovery plan should considern Controlled Drugs guidance and audits 
  • prescribing through remote patient consultations - the previously identified risks have been addressed by GMC guidance 
  • use of the electronic prescription service increased from 74% to 89% in December 2020
  • medicines for patients at end of life; ensuring timely access 
  • signatures, storage and distribution and discharge delays 
  • unused medicines in care homes and hospices

She said; "we know that transfer of care is a pinch point for medication safety generally" and went on to discuss concerns discussed at regional CD LINs including: pregabin and gabapentin, temporary residents, multiple supply sources, identity checks, self prescribing, temporary staff and local policy changes, Controlled Drugs balance checks, presription security, and electronic prescribing in hospitals. 

Victoria finished with recommendations going forward, and provided the following links:

CD Annual Update: https://www.cqc.org.uk/publications/themescare/safer-management-controlled-drugs-annual-update-2020#information
• Newsletters: https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/controlleddrugs/controlled-drugs-national-group

Reporting and investigating concerns

Grant Powell Operational Team Leader Enforcement Group
Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

• diversion of Controlled Drugs from the legitimate supply chain
• problem overview
• potential prescribing issues
• case studies
• method and importance of reporting suspected diversion

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