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NICE puts spotlight on non-prescribing NHS staff's right to supply drugs


NICE on Friday sought to tighten up on the National Health Service's use of 'patient group directions' (PGDs) under which certain groups of healthcare workers - who would not usually have the right to prescribe - are allowed to supply patients with medicines.

In a statement outlining its good practice guidance on the subject, NICE said PGDs: "Must clearly benefit the patient, not compromise safety and only happen when clear processes and lines of accountability are in place."


The institute said PGDs are acceptable when medicine use follows a predictable pattern, such as in contraception, or where patients seek unscheduled care, such as for a minor ailment in a community pharmacy or walk-in centre.


However, it warned against use outside of this type of scenario and said health service bodies should check on how there PGDs were being used, not least to ensure they meet legal requirements.


Quoted in the statement, professor Mark Baker, director of NICE's Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE said: "This guidance provides an opportunity for organisations to review whether their process for authorising PGDs is in line with current legislation, and to ensure that they are not used by healthcare professionals who are not authorised to do so."



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