AH11.2014 Prepare prescriptions for controlled drugs for substance users


This standard is about preparing prescriptions for controlled drugs for substance users under the direction of, and for signature by, a registered medical practitioner. This standard is not for the dispensing of medications. Users of this standard will need to ensure that practice reflects up to date information and policies.

Version No 2

Knowledge and Understanding

You will need to know and understand:
  1. legal, organisational and policy requirements relevant to your role and the activities being carried out
  2. the importance of regular liaison with other services involved, and appropriate ways of maintaining this liaison
  3. evidence based national guidelines and local protocols for the prescription of controlled drugs
  4. the correct documentation to be used for the prescribing of controlled drugs and the information required
  5. the importance of keeping prescription documentation in a safe place
  6. the importance of regular liaison with the dispensing pharmacist
  7. how to record prescriptions clearly and accurately on appropriate documentation
  8. the principle of confidentiality and the implications for your practice
  9. the principles of equality, diversity and anti-discriminatory practice and how they are applied
  10. the range of different substances and their effects
  11. the importance of 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
  12. how to provide advice and guidance relating to the safe storage of drugs and the need to consider safeguarding issues where people in receipt of drugs have parental responsibilities
  13. the clinical governance arrangements within your organisation, how they operate and your responsibilities in relation to this
  14. the importance of keeping full and accurate records, and how to do so in line with organisational requirements

Performance Criteria

You must be able to do the following:
  1. keep prescription documentation 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. complete the relevant documentation for prescriptions in accordance with prescribing guidelines
  5. ensure there is no blank space on the documentation in which further items could be added
  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
AH11.2014 Prepare prescriptions for controlled drugs for substance users
Final version approved February 2014 © copyright Skills For Health
For competence management tools visit tools.skillsforhealth.org.uk