The Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices sets out the GMC’s updated standards for good practice when prescribing remotely and face to face, when prescribing unlicensed medicines, and for when patient care is shared with another doctor. 

Key updates include:

  • new advice for doctors not to prescribe controlled drugs unless they have 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 relevant health professionals it may be unsafe to prescribe
  • alignment with the GMC’s updated Decision making and consent guidance, highlighting the importance of good two-way dialogue between patients and doctors in all settings.

The GMC said:

“The guidance makes clear that the same standards remain when prescribing remotely as they do when seeing a patient face to face, such as being satisfied that an adequate assessment has been made, establishing a dialogue and obtaining the patient’s consent.”

The updated guidance, which follows a call for evidence from expert individuals and healthcare organisations between November 2019 and February 2020, will take effect from Monday 5 April, giving doctors and employers six weeks to familiarise themselves with it.