Non medical prescribing in Scotland: implementation guide

Implementation guidance for nurse independent prescribers and for community practitioner nurse prescribers in Scotland.

Appendix 7: Security and safe handling of prescription forms

1. The security of nurse prescription forms is the responsibility of both the employing organisation and the nurse prescriber. It is advisable to hold only minimal stocks of the prescription forms. This reduces the number lost if there is a theft or break-in, and also helps keep prescription forms up to date.

2. The nurse employer should record the serial numbers of prescriptions received and subsequently issued to individual prescribers, surgeries, clinics, etc. For this type of 'stock control' record, there is no need to record every number in each pad - just the first and last numbers of each pad. Note that the prescription serial number is the first 10 numbers (these run in sequence), the final digit is a check digit (and does not run in sequence).

3. Local policy should be established regarding monitoring the use of prescription forms to deter the creation of fraudulent prescriptions. For example, if practicable, a Practice or Prescribing Manager may undertake, from time to time, a reconciliation between the number of prescriptions written during a session with the number of forms used by individual prescribers. Or more detailed records, such as a log of each patient prescribed for and the serial number of the prescription issued to them may be required.

4. The nurse prescriber should also keep records of the serial numbers of prescriptions issued to them. The first and last serial numbers of pads should be recorded. It is also good practice to record the number of the first remaining prescription form of an in-use pad at the end of the working day. Such steps will help to identify any prescriptions that are either lost or stolen overnight.

5. Blank prescription forms should not be pre-signed, to reduce the risk of misuse should they fall into the wrong hands. In addition, prescription forms should only be produced when needed, and never left unattended. Prescription forms should not be left on the desk but rather placed in a locked drawer. When out visiting, it is advisable for nurses to keep prescription pads in their bags - they should never be left in the car.

6. Best practice recommends that where possible, all unused forms should be returned to stock at the end of the session or day. It is strongly recommended that this happens in practice. Blank prescription forms should not be left in cars, desks or bags, to help ensure their security. Prescriptions are less likely to be stolen from (locked) secure stationery cupboards than from desks, bags or cars.

Back to top