Use PGDs only when patient benefits clear, says NICE

Providing medicine to a patient using a Patient Group Direction (PGD) is only appropriate when the patient benefits are clear, according to the new good practice guidance on PGDs from NICE. PGDs should only be used when safety is not compromised, and transparent processes and accountability structures are in place.

NICE says that PGDs are sometimes used when prescribing or another form of medicine supply is more appropriate, and that PGDs are not a substitute for prescribing. Organisations should firstly check that a PGD is the best way to deliver the service, and secondly make sure that the processes are in line with the guidance.

One of the recommendations is to consider training more non-medical prescribers to allow services to be redesigned – NICE says that barriers to the development of non-medical prescribing may have meant that PGDs have been developed inappropriately.

The guidance sets out very clearly the whole process, and also considers issues such as antimocrobial resistance.