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CQC calls for vigilance over controlled drugs

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Continued vigilance is vital to ensure that controlled drugs such as narcotics continue to be well monitored and managed, a new report warns.

The sixth annual report on the management of controlled drugs has been drawn up by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It covers the management of substances including narcotics, amphetamines, anabolic steroids, tranquillisers, growth hormones and sleeping tablets.

The regulations governing controlled drugs have been changed to bring them into line with new NHS structures, meaning the latest report is the last drawn up under the old 2006 regulations.

The health and care regulator’s report says although arrangements put in place for monitoring controlled drugs have worked well since 2006, vigilance is needed to ensure that the good practice is maintained.

It details the progress made on implementing regulations introduced in response to the Shipman Inquiry. The inquiry found ineffective monitoring enabled Dr Harold Shipman to divert diamorphine supplies to kill up to 200 patients without being detected.

Other recommendations made by the report include ensuring that health and social care professionals know how to contact their local controlled drugs accountable officer with any concerns.

It has also called for the effective systems that have been developed locally to gather, share and record intelligence related to concerns about the management of controlled drugs to be preserved and transferred to the new NHS structure.

CQC chief executive David Behan said: “As new systems and processes bed in across the NHS it is vital that vigilance is maintained to ensure the safety of patients.

“We’re greatly encouraged by the progress made over the last six years by provider organisations in improving and embedding the systems and processes necessary to ensure controlled drugs are managed safely.

“It is important and absolutely correct that CQC looks at the governance arrangements for controlled drugs in primary medical services now we are the regulator for these services.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • George Kuchanny

    Governance of all controlled drugs should naturally be maintained rigorously. Nobody will argue against that. One slip in arithmetic can be catastrophic.

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