The ability to speak with healthcare professionals via phone, video-conference and email significantly increases accessibility for service-users, but it is imperative these services do not impact on their safety.
When engaging students on this topic, please highlight our new principles which have been co-created with other regulators and professional bodies to help protect patient safety outlining the good practice expected of healthcare professionals when prescribing medication online.
The ten principles, underpinned by existing standards and guidance, include the need to:
- Understand how to identify vulnerable patients and take appropriate steps to protect them;
- Carry out clinical assessments and medical record checks to ensure medication is safe and appropriate; and
- Raise concerns when adequate patient safeguards aren’t in place.
These principles apply to all healthcare professionals involved in providing consultations and medication to patients remotely. For HCPC this includes our chiropodists/podiatrists, dietitians, paramedics, physiotherapists, diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers.
Please make it clear that professionals delivering online services have the same obligations to follow our guidance and to prescribe safely as they would do in face-to-face interactions.
The principles could help professionals to identify and call out where unsafe practice is taking place so this can be acted upon.