The Medicines Act (1968) is a combination of primary and secondary legislation which provides the legal framework for the manufacture, licensing, prescribing, supply and administration of medicines. The Medicines Act (1968) classifies medicines into the following categories: Prescription only medicines (POMs), Pharmacy only medicines (Ps), General sales list medicines (GSLs) and Controlled drugs (CDs) (NMC 2007a). The Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) provides the statutory framework for the control and regulation of controlled drugs. The key purpose of the MDA is to prevent misuse of controlled drugs. The MDA (1971) makes it illegal to possess or provide a controlled drug unless an exception or exemption applies. A controlled drug is defined as any drug listed in schedule 2 of the Act which includes morphine, pethidine or diamorphine. Additional statutory processes for the administration of controlled drugs are under the Health Act (2006) (NMC 2007a). The National Patient Safety Agency (2001) is responsible for improving the safety and quality of patient care through stages of reporting, analysing, and publishing the near misses and mistakes involving NHS patients and drug treatments. The report lay down the risks of inaccuracy at all stages of the medication process through prescribing, dispensing, administration, labelling and training. It offers guidance for health professionals and other organisations on how to create a culturally safer framework to work in accordance with, reflecting on experience and high-quality practice within the NHS. These recommendations enable drug treatments to be safer for NHS patients and health professionals involved (DoH 2004).
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