The CQC’s annual Safer Management of Controlled Drugs report offers important reminders in CD prescribing data:
- Regular review of patients’ clinical needs before prescribing, and quantity prescribed, particularly when issuing repeat prescriptions
- Patients should receive guidance and warnings of the potential for dependence and actions to take, appropriate to the patient’s needs.
- Supply arrangements should enable rapid access to CDs for patients at the end of life
- The needs and wishes of patients at the end of life, and their carers, should be considered on an individual basis.
During 2019, NHS primary care services prescribed a total of 71.71m controlled drug items, which was an increase of 17 per cent compared with 2018, and at a cost of £542.72m, an increase of 12 per cent compared with the previous year. These increases are explained by the rescheduling of the gabapentinoids to Schedule 3: on their own these account for 20 per cent (14.7m items). Excluding gabapentinoids, the overall volume of CD items has decreased by 5 per cent.