Prescribing trends for controlled drugs in 2018 were broadly similar to 2017. Photo: iStock

Pharmacist prescribing of controlled drug items increased by 56 per cent in 2017-18, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reveals.

Its annual report for 2018 entitled The safer management of controlled drugs, CQC says “this shows the value of pharmacists in new ways of working”.

Prescribing trends for controlled drugs in 2018 were broadly similar to 2017, with NHS primary care services prescribing around 60 million items. This was a decrease of 2 per cent compared to the previous year.

Among other prescribers, nurse prescribing increased by 10 per cent, while the increase in prescribing by physiotherapists and podiatrists remained very small.

There were 2,899 unaccounted losses of controlled drug items on the reporting tool during 2018-19.

The NHS region with the biggest number of reported losses was Greater Manchester.

Methadone loss with 925 was the most reported case, followed by morphine with 640 reports and oxycodone with 386 reports.

The report recommends healthcare professionals to speak up on areas of concern that might affect patient safety, including prescribing, administering, dispensing, supplying and disposing of controlled drugs.

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