Watchdog finds problems beset drug monitoring

Drug monitoring regulations introduced two years ago in response to the Shipman Inquiry are beset with problems, according to a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

By Joe Lepper
The CQC's annual Safer Management of Controlled Drugs report looked at how health services implemented the Controlled Drugs (Supervision of Management and Use) Regulations during 2008.

This found that while most trusts now had an accountable drug-monitoring officer in place to inspect GP practices and other healthcare settings, turnover in the role was high.

Two-fifths of PCTs changed their accountable officer at least once during 2007 and 2008.

Trusts should also appoint authorised witnesses for destroying obsolete drugs, according to the regulations. However the report says some areas needed to appoint additional witnesses to prevent an accumulation of drugs, ‘which could create a risk to security'.

In addition, information sharing between local health and social care organisations was found to be, ‘variable', and,  ‘requires further development'.

The report calls on trusts to ensure they notify the CQC as soon as a drug monitoring officer vacancy arises. Trusts must also ensure their local intelligence networks, set up to share information, are ‘clear about their remit and responsibilities'.



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