PHARM31 Determine the suitability of an individual's own medicines for use


This standard covers checking the suitability of an individual’s own medicines for use. This involves checking that the medicines match correctly all the information on an individual’s prescription chart or medication record. It also includes the identification of any discrepancies and dealing with any problems appropriately. The standard can be applied in a variety of settings in hospitals and community settings including GP practices.

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 purposes of checking the suitability of an individual’s own medicines
  2. the appropriate documentation required for recording information following assessment of medicines
  3. relevant national and local guidelines, policies, procedures that are available including:
    1. when they should be used
    2. how to use them
  4. the different forms of medicines
  5. the factors which affect the storage of medication including expiry dates
  6. issues that may affect how medicines are taken including:
    1. problems with reading
    2. swallowing difficulties
    3. dexterity problems
    4. personal beliefs about taking medicines
  7. the labelling requirements for medicines
  8. legislation surrounding medicines not licensed in the UK, and their labelling requirements
  9. the use of compliance aids
  10. the regulations related to destruction of medicines 
  11. legislation and legal processes relating to valid consent
  12. the importance of involving individuals in discussion and how this can be achieved
  13. the importance of encouraging individuals to ask questions
  14. the need to work in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures
  15. the limitations of your scope of practice and when to refer to others
  16. organisational policies, Standard Operating Procedures and professional standards
  17. the importance of maintaining confidentiality when sharing information about individuals with others
  18. the importance of accurately recording information on medicines taken by individuals

Performance Criteria

You must be able to do the following:

  1. ensure that you work in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures and within the scope of your responsibility and practice at all times
  2. comply with legal, professional and organisational policies at all times
  3. explain the purpose of checking the individual’s own medicines and answer any questions related to the process
  4. obtain appropriate information about the individual’s medicines
  5. assess the individual’s own medicines to ensure they are fit for purpose and complete appropriate documentation
  6. refer any unidentifiable medicines or products to an appropriate person
  7. identify any discrepancies between the individual’s own medicines and prescribed items
  8. record and report any discrepancies and other issues identified to an appropriate person
  9. identify unlabelled medicines that are appropriate for use and label according to Standard Operating Procedures
  10. arrange for medicines to be re-labelled where appropriate
  11. check that the unlabelled medicines that are not re-labelled are suitable for removal and/ or destruction with an appropriate person
  12. obtain valid consent from the individual or their carer for use, removal or destruction of the individual’s own medicines
  13. arrange for medicines not appropriate for use to be removed and/ or destroyed in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures
  14. record any medicines destroyed in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures
  15. arrange for any new medicines required to be issued in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures

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: HWB6 Assessment and treatment planning
PHARM31 Determine the suitability of an individual's own medicines for use
Final version approved June 2010 © copyright Skills For Health
For competence management tools visit tools.skillsforhealth.org.uk