AH11 Prepare prescriptions for controlled drugs


This standard is about preparing prescriptions for controlled drugs for substance users under the direction of, and for signature by, a registered medical practitioner.

Users of this standard will need to ensure that practice reflects up to date information and policies.

Version No 1

Knowledge and Understanding

You will need to know and understand:

  1. the importance of regular liaison with other services involved, and appropriate ways of maintaining this liaison
  2. national guidelines and local protocols for the prescription of controlled drugs
  3. the correct form to be used when prescribing controlled drugs and the information required
  4. the importance of keeping prescription forms in a safe place
  5. the importance of regular liaison with the dispensing pharmacist
  6. how to record prescriptions clearly and accurately on appropriate documentation
  7. the importance of keeping full, legible and accurate records in date order, and how to do so
  8. the principle of confidentiality under data protection legislation: what information may be given to whom
  9. organisational requirements and policies relevant to the functions being carried out
  10. the range of different substances and their effects
  11. the importance of only prescribing controlled drugs to substance users as part of a wider treatment plan and how the use of controlled drugs complements other psychological, social and medical interventions

Performance Criteria

You must be able to do the following:

  1. keep prescription forms in a safe place and maintain an audit trail of prescriptions for all controlled drugs
  2. prepare prescriptions for controlled drugs as directed by the clinician
  3. liaise with other services and check the individual’s medical history and that no other clinician is prescribing controlled drugs for the individual
  4. state, on the correct form for prescribing controlled drugs:
    1. the individual’s name and address
    2. the name of the controlled drug
    3. the form and the strength of the preparation
    4. the total quantity of the preparation (the number of dose units) in both words and figures
    5. the dose
    6. the route of administration
    7. the number and frequency of instalments, if the controlled drug is to be dispensed by instalments
    8. any requirement for the consumption of the drug to be supervised
  5. ensure there is no blank space on the form in which the individual could add further items
  6. consult the clinician if you are unsure about any aspect of the prescription
  7. ensure the prescription is signed by the clinician and dated
  8. agree the dispensing regime with the pharmacist and liaise regularly about the specific individual and the prescribing regime
  9. make yourself available to take emergency telephone calls from the pharmacist in cases of a prescription error
  10. record the prescription for controlled drugs on the appropriate monitoring record
  11. ensure that records of the individual’s treatment are available only to those authorised to see them

Additional Information

This National Occupational Standard was developed by Skills for Health.

This standard links with the following dimension within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (October 2004):

Dimension: HWB10 Products to meet health and wellbeing needs
AH11 Prepare prescriptions for controlled drugs
Final version approved June 2010 © copyright Skills For Health
For competence management tools visit tools.skillsforhealth.org.uk