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Care commission hails success of Post-Shipman drug regulations

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Measures brought in to prevent a repeat of the case of homicidal doctor Harold Shipman have been successful, the healthcare regulator for England has announced.

It was revealed during the Shipman inquiry that slack monitoring procedures allowed him to stockpile huge amounts of diamorphine which he used to kill at least 15 patients at his practice in Hyde, Greater Manchester.

Shipman obtained the drug by prescribing it for cancer patients after they had died. He committed suicide in prison in January 2004.

New rules about how controlled drugs are regulated were introduced in 2007 in response. Now NHS healthcare workers are better trained to identify problems earlier, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found.

Cynthia Bower, CQC’s chief executive, said: “Healthcare staff are better trained and more aware of issues relating to controlled drugs. We also have access to more information about prescribing patterns. Organisations should keep building on this good work and continue to reduce risks to patients as much as they possibly can.”

The CQC also recommended that there should be enough people qualified as “authorised witnesses” present when health organisations destroy obsolete drugs.

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