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29.04.20

RCGP: Covid-19 controlled drugs changes to make ‘genuine difference’

Temporary changes to relax laws on controlled drugs during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak have been welcomed by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), with the belief it will make a “genuine difference” to patients and families.

The announced changes were made as part of the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England’s publication of a new standard operating procedure on running a medicines reuse scheme in a care home or hospice setting.

Chair of the RCGP, Professor Martin Marshall, said: “It’s vital that patients at or nearing the end of their lives receive the care they need – and having the right medication when they need it is key to this.

“We’re pleased that the government has responded to our call for a temporary relaxing of laws so that controlled drugs can now be repurposed and used for patients who need them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Currently, this only applies to patients living in care home and hospice settings, so there is still work to be done to ensure patients living in their own homes have appropriate access to necessary medication in a timely way, but this is a significant step forward that will make a genuine difference to patients at or nearing the end of their lives, and their families, during this pandemic.”

The RCGP had written to Home Secretary Priti Patel last week to call for an urgent “temporary relaxation” on rules regarding controlled drugs, in order to allow for the most ethical use of drugs such as morphine during the Covid-19 pandemic and reduce medication wastage.

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