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CQC: Fears covid restrictions caused opiate addiction deaths

Problems with dispensing drugs during the COVID-19 crisis may be contributing to an “apparent increase” in deaths of patients receiving treatment for opiate addiction, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said. 

The regulator has said the increase in deaths “may be a result of some services stopping all daily dispensing of opiates” and has taken enforcement action against a “large national provider of substance misuse services” which ”stopped all daily dispensing”.

The provider has not been named by the CQC as it is “entitled to an appeal period,” but the regulator told HSJ the provider had not recorded their risk assessments for their clients in relation to changes in drug dispensing. The CQC said the provider had now “assured us” individualised risk assessments were in place.

The CQC is now reviewing all deaths of people which have been reported by substance misuse services since 1 March due to concerns about the apparent increase and “that some of these deaths may be related to changes in prescribing practices in response to COVID-19”.

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Source: HSJ, 27 May 2020


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