Controlled drugs

Register of Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers (Scotland)

CDAO register notifications

Organisations should send all CDAO notifications, amendments and applications for exemption to the following dedicated mailbox 

Information for new Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers

We've created an information leaflet for new Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers on the support and resources available to them via the Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers Network.

Download our leaflet and visit the Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers Network community of practice website.

Safe management of controlled drugs

A controlled drug  is a prescription medicine that is subject to strict legal controls. These controls are to prevent it from being misused, being obtained illegally or causing harm. The law determines, for example, how these medicines are produced, stored, prescribed and destroyed.

Legislation for managing all medicines, including controlled drugs, lies with the UK Parliament and applies to all parts of the UK.

In April 2013, revised regulations on controlled drugs were introduced, as a result of the change to the regulations, Healthcare Improvement Scotland has a more explicit governance role in the safe management of controlled drugs.

Role of Healthcare Improvement Scotland

Maintain and publish a register of Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers in Scotland

The Controlled Drugs Regulations 2013 require every designated body in Scotland to appoint a Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer who is responsible for ensuring the safe and effective use and management of controlled drugs within the organisations which they oversee.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland must be notified of the details of the person nominated to take on this role.

Access the register of controlled drugs accountable officers

Manage the process that allows healthcare providers who meet the specified criteria apply to be exempt from appointing a CDAO

Independent healthcare providers that have less than 10 staff do not need to appoint a CDAO under the Regulations

Independent healthcare providers with more than 10 staff can apply to for this exemption if they:

  • do not normally use a lot of controlled drugs
  • would find it difficult to appoint a suitable individual to the role

We will keep a record of organisations that are exempt from this requirement and publish these alongside the CDAO register.

Introduce a process of self declaration and self assessment so that healthcare organisations can monitor their clinical governance arrangements for controlled drugs

 During 2013/14 we undertook a baseline review and asked healthcare organisations to complete a self declaration and self assessment.

A report of the findings of this review is now available.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland is committed to promoting a joint working approach and continues to work closely with other regulatory and inspection bodies, including the Care Quality Commission, as well as the Scottish Government, the Care Inspectorate, the Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers Network in Scotland.

Controlled drugs quarterly occurrence reports

From July 2015 independent healthcare services will no longer require to submit a quarterly report to their NHS Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer (NHS CDAO). 

Healthcare Improvement Scotland, in collaboration with the controlled drugs accountable officers network, the Care Inspectorate and key stakeholders reviewed the processes for submitting controlled drugs e-notifications to Healthcare Improvement Scotland and controlled Drugs quarterly occurrence reports to NHS CDAOs.

From July 2015 Healthcare Improvement Scotland will submit the controlled drugs quarterly occurrence reports to NHS CDAOs on behalf of independent healthcare providers.