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NHS needs to monitor addict's 'doctor shopping'

GPs need to be made aware of 'Doctor shopping' Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Under the previous health service structure, primary care trusts would alert all practices in the local area if there was an individual visiting multiple practices to request specific drugs.

MPs have said that the highlighting of so-called 'doctor shopping' now needs to be "formalised" in order for it to continue with the structural changes in healthcare in UK.

A report recommended that NHS England should issue guidance to local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), so they take on the gathering of data on patients visiting multiple practices to request specific drugs.

1.5 million patients 'are addicted to prescription drugs'

There are currently 1.5 million people addicted to prescription drugs in the UK. The abuse of these types of substances is taking place in the shadows and its extent is still unquantified.

Local GPs need to report their suspicions and collate information to illuminate this problem.

– Keith Vaz MP, Committee chair

Lack of action would lead to "catastrophic consequences", Mr Vaz said.

The committee cited work by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction which estimates that 1.5 million people are addicted to these type of drugs, far higher than those who are in treatment for addiction to illegal drugs.

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GPs 'should monitor patients addicted to prescription drugs'

GPs should start collecting anonymous data on patients they suspect or know to be hooked on prescription drugs, a group of MPs has found.

GPs 'should monitor on patients addicted to prescription drugs' Credit: PA

There is a lack of data on misuse and supply of prescription drugs for non-medicinal purposes and the spread and scale of the problem needs to be established, the Home Affairs Select Committee said.

Further efforts to tackle "doctor-shopping", when addicts visiting multiple practices to request specific drugs, are also needed, the MPs said.