Prescribing - Self Prescribing & Family Members
The LMC has been made aware of a number of GPs who have been reported to the GMC for self-prescribing. The LMC would strongly advise GPs not to prescribe for themselves or their family, except in exceptional circumstance.
The areas of high risk are controlled drugs, psychiatric medication and drugs for erectile dysfunction.
The GMC Guidelines for Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices are quite clear:
17. Wherever possible you must avoid prescribing for yourself or anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship.
18. Controlled medicines present particular dangers, occasionally associated with drug misuse, addiction and misconduct. You must not prescribe a controlled medicine for yourself or someone close to you unless:
a. no other person with the legal right to prescribe is available to assess and prescribe without a delay which would put your, or the patient’s, life or health at risk or cause unacceptable pain or distress, and
b. That treatment is immediately necessary to:
i. Save life
ii. Avoid serious deterioration in the patient's health, or
iii. Alleviate otherwise uncontrollable pain.
19. If you prescribe for yourself or someone close to you, you must: a make a clear record at the same time or as soon as possible afterwards. The record should include your relationship to the patient (where relevant) and the reason it was necessary for you to prescribe. b tell your own or the patient’s general practitioner (and others treating you or the patient, where relevant) what medicines you have prescribed and any other information necessary for continuing care, unless (in the case of prescribing for somebody close to you) they object.
We are aware of GPs who have been reported to the GMC for self-prescribing antibiotics. Pharmacists will often challenge self-prescribed medication and some will refuse to dispense the prescription.
The LMC has been involved in some cases where a GP has prescribed for themselves using a false name.
Prescribing for yourself or your family using a false name is fraud and a criminal offence and your registration with the GMC will certainly be at risk.
Please all remember issuing a prescription for yourself on an FP10 for a drug that should be issued as a private prescription is also fraud.
A small number of Wessex GPs have been contacted by the NHS Counter Fraud Service about prescriptions written for family members. This is partly because treating family members is not ideal but also because a common way for doctors to obtain drugs by deception is to issue a prescription in the name of a family member.
The Counter Fraud Service therefore target prescriptions written by doctors for patients with the same surname or home address. Although most such prescriptions are innocent (e.g. for antibiotics) the issue can cause embarrassment, as Counter Fraud may inform the GMC of their findings (and this has already happened in some cases).