Decisions about who should take responsibility for continuing care or treatment after initial diagnosis or assessment should be based on the patient’s best interests, rather than on convenience or the cost of the medicine and associated monitoring or follow-up.
Shared care requires the agreement of all parties, including the patient. It’s essential that all parties communicate effectively and work together.
Prescribing at the recommendation of a colleague
If you prescribe based on the recommendation of another doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional, you must be satisfied that the prescription is needed, appropriate for the patient and within the limits of your competence.
If you delegate the assessment of a patient’s suitability for a medicine, you must be satisfied that the person you delegate to has the qualifications, experience, knowledge and skills to make the assessment. You must give them enough information about the patient to carry out the assessment. You must also make sure that they follow our guidance on ‘Decision making and consent’ in paragraphs 42 to 47.
In both cases (paragraphs 76 – 77), you will be responsible for any prescription you sign.
Recommending medicines for a colleague to prescribe
If you recommend that a colleague, for example a trainee doctor or GP, prescribes a particular medicine for a patient, you must consider their competence to do so. You must be satisfied they have sufficient experience (especially in the case of trainee doctors) and knowledge of the patient and the medicine in order to prescribe. You should be willing to answer their questions and otherwise assist them in caring for the patient, as required.