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Exploration of the use of Patient Group Directions (PGDs) by ODPs

Released on - 30/10/2017

Exploration of the use of Patient Group Directions (PGDs) by ODPs

A UK-wide project is underway to explore the possibility of enabling ODPs to use PGDs to supply or administer medicines. On behalf of the four home countries, NHS England is leading the project and will be working closely with the Association for Perioperative Practice and other key stakeholders to explore this proposal. 

What is a PGD?

• documents which enable groups of patients to receive a specific medicine in a particular clinical situation. 

• can be written for use by different registered health care professionals who are authorised to do so for the use of one-off treatments, diagnostic tests or acute episodes of care.  

• can include medicines that have a license to be used in the UK but not those without (unlicensed). 

• needed for prescription only medicines and are not needed for pharmacy only or general sale medicines. 

• there are certain restrictions associated with the use of PGDs such as use cannot be delegated to another health professional who is not authorised to use them, 

• not for medicines where the dose may change, such as warfarin.

For further detail, please see and

PGDs permit the supply and administration of medicines, but the use of PGDs is not prescribing.

How could patients benefit?

The use of PGDs by ODPs would help ensure patients receive the right treatment and at the right time. Reducing avoidable delays in accessing medicines would help improve patient outcomes.  Patient satisfaction and their experience of care would also be improved by reducing the need for additional appointments with other healthcare professionals just to access the medicines required. 

How could the NHS benefit?

The use of PGDs would also enable an increase in the flexibility within the workforce, support medicines optimisation and create opportunities for commissioners and providers to redesign services to improve clinical outcomes and increase capacity whilst maintaining patient safety. 

A change to legislation is required to extend the use of PGDs to additional professional groups. The process includes a public consultation and consideration of the proposals and consultation responses by the Commission on Human Medicines. The Commission then makes recommendations to ministers in respect of any legislative change. The process is expected to take around two years.

For further information on this proposal please contact Tracey Williams 


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