The General Medical Council (GMC) has updated their ethical guidance on Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices.
This follows a call for evidence on remote prescribing in early 2020, and responds to the huge increase in remote consultations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance has been restructured to integrate information on remote consultations and prescribing throughout.
The guidance will come into effect on 5 April 2021, following a six week familiarisation period.
The guidance supports doctors to be able to prescribe safely for their patients, whatever the setting. It sets out the GMC standards for good practice when prescribing face to-face or remotely, when prescribing unlicensed medicines and for when patient care is shared with another doctor
Key updates include:
- new advice for doctors to stop prescribing controlled drugs without access to patient records, except in emergencies.
- stronger advice on information sharing, making it clear that if a patient refuses consent to share information with other health professionals it may be unsafe to prescribe.
- alignment with our updated ‘Decision making and consent’ guidance, highlighting the importance of good two-way dialogue between patients and doctors in all settings.
- updated advice on treating patients based overseas to clarify doctors may need to register in the country where they are based, where the patient is based, and where prescribed medicines are to be dispensed.