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Standards & Advice update: July 2021

In the current climate, we recognise it may be more difficult than usual for some practices to find a witness for the destruction of controlled drugs (CDs). However, having a stockpile of controlled drugs waiting to be destroyed could pose risks, for example in relation to safe storage.

The VMD permit the following people to witness the destruction of Schedule 2 controlled drugs (and schedule 3 and 4 controlled drugs that have been prepared extemporaneously under the prescribing Cascade):

  • An Inspector appointed under the VMRs i.e. a VMD inspector
  • An RCVS Practice Standards Assessor
  • A veterinary surgeon independent of a practice where the destruction takes place (including those who have no personal, professional or financial interest in the veterinary practice where the drug is being destroyed but excluding temporary staff and family members); or
  • A person legally authorised to witness the destruction of CDs such as a Controlled Drugs Liaison Officer (or CDLO) from a local police force.

Where in ordinary times a practice may have had a CDLO or VMD/ PSS Inspector as their witness, those practices might now need to find a witness more locally. We encourage neighbouring practices (other than those in the same practice group) to liaise and support each other in witnessing the destruction of controlled drugs over this time.

Please note that the VMD is currently reviewing their guidance on witnesses in light of coronavirus, and will provide an update to us in due course.

For further information on the safe disposal of controlled drugs, please see FAQs 4 and 5 of our common medicine pitfalls on the RCVS webpage.

July 2021