Self-prescribing

  • Wherever possible, avoid prescribing for yourself, or
  • Anyone you have a close personal relationship with.
  • Follow GMC guidance.

Self-prescribing

You should be registered with a GP outside your family to ensure you have access to independent, objective medical care.

Wherever possible, you must avoid self-prescribing.

If you do self-prescribe, you must be prepared to justify or explain your decision. The GMC guidance states that you must also:

  • make a clear record at the time or as soon as possible afterwards
  • tell your own GP what you prescribed and any other relevant information.

Failure to do so could lead to your fitness to practise being called into question. MDU members have also faced disciplinary action or fraud investigations as a result of self-prescribing.

Prescribing for family or friends

The same restrictions apply to prescribing for anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship. If prescribing for someone close to you, you must keep a clear record of why you prescribed and your relationship with the patient, and tell the patient's GP what you prescribed and any other relevant information, unless the patient objects.

As with self-prescribing, prescribing for family or friends can lead to serious consequences, including GMC investigation.

Controlled medicines

The GMC guidance is clear that you must not prescribe a controlled substance for yourself or anyone close to you unless:

  • 'no other person with the legal right to prescribe is available to assess and prescribe without a delay which would put your, or your patient's, life or health at risk or cause unacceptable pain or distress, and
  • the treatment is immediately necessary to (i) save a life, (ii) avoid serious deterioration in health, or (iii) alleviate otherwise uncontrollable pain or distress.'

We have seen a number of cases in which MDU members have prescribed for themselves or those close to them and faced criticism as a result. Benzodiazepines, antibiotics and opiates are among the most common medications prescribed in these cases.

This guidance was correct at publication 05/01/2018. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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