The Role of the Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer

The 2013 regulations require healthcare organisations such as NHS trusts and independent hospitals to appoint a Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer (CDAO) who has responsibility for all aspects of Controlled Drugs management within their organisation. They must ensure that every aspect of Controlled Drugs management is set out in appropriate and up–to–date standard operating procedures and that these are followed in practice. This does not only include procurement and storage arrangements but also monitoring and oversight to ensure safe practices are in place for prescribing and administration; that Controlled Drugs are used appropriately; that relevant individuals are trained and that there are effective routes for reporting controlled drug related concerns.

Each area team of NHS England is also required to appoint a lead CDAO with responsibility for controlled drug concerns across their geographical area. As part of this responsibility, all the CDAOs within their geographical area are required to submit to them a quarterly occurrence report of controlled drug incidents from within their organisation so that the Area Team CDAO can identify trends of concern.

For the purpose of sharing controlled drug concerns and good practice initiatives , the area team CDAOs are required to set up Controlled Drugs local intelligence networks (CD LINs) for their area. Whilst they can determine the specific membership, it is largely comprised of the CDAOs across the area, Clinical Commissioning Group representatives and the relevant regulators and agencies as set out in the regulations.

Details of all CDAOs in England are held in the Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer register, which is published on the Care Quality Commission website:
www.cqc.org.uk/content/controlled-drugs-accountable-officers

Not all healthcare organisations are required to appoint a CDAO, however, those organisations that fall outside of the 2013 regulations must still comply with the Misuse of Drugs Regulations and must have arrangements in place to ensure the safe and secure management of Controlled Drugs and the reporting of controlled drug concerns. To achieve this, they should consider nominating a lead person to ensure controlled drug governance arrangements are in place within their organisation.