CQC publishes annual report on controlled drugs for 2014

The report explores how well The Controlled Drugs (Supervision and Management of Use) Regulations 2013 have been adopted and applied across England.

The Regulations were initially created in 2006 in the wake of the Shipman Inquiry, and the report sets out findings for the period between January to December 2014, as well as making recommendations to further strengthen its national governance arrangements.

This year’s report highlights the need for a consistent approach by social care organisations when it comes to reporting controlled drug concerns, the importance of sharing information in order to reduce controlled drug-related incidents and the need for greater engagement and co-operation between local intelligence networks and social care organisations.

Of note from the report is the description of 2014 being a “settling down period”, in which NHS England’s controlled drug accountable officers (CDAOs) worked hard to ensure that the arrangements for the safe management of controlled drugs were being followed and maintained, after the restructure of the NHS and the revision of the Regulations during 2013.

CDAOs are senior managers who are responsible for the management of controlled drugs within their organisation. They were introduced to address the concerns that arose after the Shipman Inquiry where the misuse of various controlled drugs by a Doctor on his patients led to several murders. Under the Regulations, those health care and service organisations within England and Scotland who have been assigned a “designated” status are all required to have CDAOs. This includes NHS and independent hospitals, ambulance trusts, NHS England and The Armed Forces.

However, Regulations 3 and 4 introduced new exemptions, such as microbusinesses with less than 10 staff, who are not required to have CDAOs. Larger organisations who do not have a generally high usage of controlled drugs or associated activity also have the option of applying directly to the CQC for an exemption.

In the Report CQC makes several recommendations both for themselves and for other organisations such as NHS England and all CDAOs. The intention is to make sure CQC continues to work collaboratively and consistently with relevant organisations and that arrangements for controlled drugs in England continue to keep people safe.

A copy of the report can be found on the CQC website: http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/safer-management-controlled-drugs-2014

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