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Working with external health care professionals

  • Organisations we regulate

NICE launched a campaign to encourage health commissioners and local authorities to have written agreements.

These agreements should set out clear responsibilities for home-based medicines support. The guiding principles are also useful for staff working in care homes.

Staff in care homes and providing care at home may need to work with external health care professionals to provide safe and effective care and treatment.

Medicines policies should cover information sharing and joint working with other health and social care providers. This should include when people transfer between settings. All processes should be risk assessed before implementation and fully supported by policies.

Decision making

Involve people receiving care in decisions relating to their care and treatment.

People should have access to the support they need to help them to take part in decision making.

Make sure you record the person's consent in their care record.


External health care professionals should record their interactions and interventions. This helps care staff to follow any instructions safely and effectively.

Care providers should have safe mechanisms so that external health and social care professionals can record their interventions.

Make sure records of medicines administered by external health care professionals are available to all care staff. Where possible, external health care professionals should consider seeing people jointly with care staff.

Points to consider

People may be placed at unnecessary risk if care staff are not able to access relevant, accurate and up-to-date information.

Care providers should include external health and social care professionals in decision making. Care plans should be agreed by everyone they impact.

Care plans should be clear about who is responsible for providing medicines support. This is very important when more than one care provider is involved.

Health care professionals should have access to all relevant medical information for the people they provide care to.

Systems for sharing information should maintain patient confidentiality. And they should follow the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation.

Care providers should make sure external health care professionals know what is expected of them. This includes accessing information and making records for people in their care.

Health care professionals should continue to monitor and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a person's medicines when medicines support is provided by a care worker. For example, through medicines reviews.

A care provider might contact a health care professional for advice that they cannot provide. The care provider should seek further advice from the relevant body. For example, the local clinical commissioning group or the local pharmaceutical committee.

Last updated:
03 February 2020