- Wherever possible, avoid prescribing for yourself or anyone you have a close personal relationship with.
- Follow GMC guidance.
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 self-prescribe, you must be prepared to justify or explain your decision. The GMC guidance states you must also:
- make a clear record at the time or as soon as possible afterwards
- follow advice on information sharing and safe prescribing as outlined in paragraphs 27-33 and paragraphs 53-58.
- 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.
It is usually very difficult to have enough medical information about someone close to you to make prescribing decisions, and hard to be objective. And while it is natural to want to make things easier for friends or relatives who might be facing difficulties in accessing the care they need, it is not appropriate to prescribe for convenience.
The GMC guidance is clear that you must not prescribe a controlled substance for yourself or anyone close to you unless:
- "a. no other person with the legal right to prescribe is available to assess and prescribe without a delay
- "b. emergency treatment is immediately necessary to avoid serious deterioration in health or serious harm."
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.
If you would like to discuss any personal dilemmas relating to prescribing, please contact us for advice.
This page was correct at publication on 28/09/2023. Any guidance 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.