Watch out for prescription thieves, dentists warned

UK-wide dental defence organisation MDDUS would like to draw to all dental practitioners’ attention the issue of prescription form theft and the importance of having a robust system in place to minimise the risk of controlled drugs being attained illegally by patients.

MDDUS dental adviser Rachael Bell believes the threat of fraud can be reduced by ensuring all the dental team are aware of the consequences of prescription forms going missing.

‘Prescription pads are small and easily removed from practices and handbags,’ says Bell. ‘Therefore, practices should take necessary steps to reduce the risk of prescription pads being stolen and act swiftly if an incident of theft occurs.

 ‘Prescription form theft can result in acts of fraud, with stolen forms being used to obtain controlled drugs illegally.’

Upon delivery of prescription forms, managers or principals should ensure a process is in place to record how many prescription pads are in stock and the relevant serial numbers.

‘Details of the prescriber should be recorded along with date of issue, the number of prescriptions issued and to whom,’ add Bell.

‘This means that missing forms can easily be accounted for – at which point the matter should be reported to the designated person at the NHS Board.

‘Records of all serial numbers received should be retained for at least three years along with an audit trail for prescription forms – including forms completed and then subsequently not used together with forms not issued due to an error filling them out.’

As well as minimising the risk of prescription form theft, practices are required to act quickly if an incident of theft or fraud occurs to help reduce the resulting damage.

‘There should be processes in place within the dental practice that allows and encourages staff to report all incidents of theft,’ says Bell.

‘It is important that those dealing with prescription forms are aware of the importance of security and follow the procedures in place to prevent the possibility of theft.’

The NHS Counter Fraud Services (CFS) investigates fraud allegations concerning both patients and healthcare professionals and may become involved if there is a suspected incident of fraud. As a special division of the health service, they are responsible for the prevention, detection and investigation of fraud in the NHS.

For further information and advice on prescription form theft, Practitioner Services in Scotland recently produced Security of Prescription Forms Guidance for prescribers. To see the guidance, click on the link

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