GP Letters, calls & emails: Clarification on police powers overdrugs

Dear Editor

I recently wrote to the Medical Protections Society (MPS) to ask them to clarify comments made in article on proposed powers to let police check records of controlled drugs (GP, 3 March).

The article quoted the MPS's Dr Stephanie Bown as saying that such activity 'is likely to include registers which may include patient information and names'. She goes on to state that practices should anonymise the information.

It is my understanding that records of controlled drugs administered by GPs must be kept in a bound hardback book in ink, and must contain name of patient, date, type and dose of drug. How can this information be anonymised?

If the GP persuades the police or other inspector that it is okay to cover up the name column on each page, then will that be of any use to the police?

But how would you do that and be confident of not uncovering that column by mistake except by sticking anything firmly on top of it, an act tantamount to altering the register?

I presume they would want to see if the GP is prescribing grams of diamorphine daily to the same name.

Dr Declan Fox, Newtownstewart, Co Tyrone.

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