Working with external healthcare professionals

Page last updated: 20 February 2023
Organisations we regulate

Health and social care providers are responsible for delivering integrated person-centred care.

Staff who work in care homes or who provide care at home will often need to work with external healthcare professionals to provide safe and effective care and treatment.

Policies covering medicines should include how the service shares information and works with other health and social care providers, in line with NICE NG5.

Policies should also include when people transfer between settings. All processes should be risk assessed before being implemented and fully supported by policies.


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

You should have processes to enable external health and social care professionals to record their interventions.

Make sure records of medicines administered by external healthcare professionals are available to all care staff. Where possible, external healthcare professionals should consider including care staff when they see people.

Points to consider

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

When making decisions about people’s care and treatment, you should:

  • Include external health and social care professionals. Care plans should be agreed by everyone they affect.
  • Involve people receiving care. They should have access to the support they need to help them take part in decision making.
  • Make sure you record the person's consent in their care record. Healthcare professionals should have access to all relevant medical information for the people they provide care to.

To deliver safe care, it’s important that:

  • your systems for sharing information maintain patient confidentiality and follow the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation
  • you ensure external healthcare professionals know what is expected of them, including accessing information and making records for people in their care
  • healthcare professionals continue to monitor and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a person's medicines when a care worker provides medicines support, for example, through medicines reviews
  • you contact your local integrated care board, local pharmaceutical committee or other relevant body if a healthcare professional cannot provide specific advice

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has launched a new initiative to encourage better medicines support for people who are receiving social care services in their homes. Involved and informed: good community medicines support encourages 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.