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Tighter rules on controlled drugs “a success”

28 August 2009

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An independent regulator has said the drug controls put in place after the discovery that former doctor Harold Shipman killed at least 15 patients are working well.

Investigations into the murders revealed Shipman was able to obtain large quantities of drugs, which he then used to kill at least 15 and possibly up to 200 patients.

The doctor, who killed himself in prison in January 2004, had stockpiled vast amounts of diamorphine, either falsely prescribed or taken from cancer patients after their deaths.

It was discovered that ineffective monitoring allowed the doctor, who ran a one-man practice in Hyde, Greater Manchester, to stash the drugs and as a result new rules were introduced in 2007.

A report into the regulations by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has revealed that healthcare workers are now better trained to deal with controlled drugs and to identify problems sooner.

Cynthia Bower, CQC’s chief executive, said: “Healthcare staff are better trained and more aware of issues relating to controlled drugs. We also have access to more information about prescribing patterns. Organisations should keep building on this good work and continue to reduce risks to patients as much as they possibly can.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Care Quality Commission