The safe and secure handling of medicines is the
responsibility of every healthcare professional, who must ensure
that they work within their professional guidelines, ethics and codes of conduct.

The four core principles that underpin the safe and secure
handling of medicines are

  • Establish governance arrangements –
    say what we do and why we do it
  • Ensure capacity and capability – ‘train people and ensure
    they have the necessary resources’
  • Undertake assurance – ‘do what we say and prove
  • Seek to improve – ‘improve what we

These four core principles are to be applied to
the physical handling processes involved in each stage of the
medicines pathway. The medicines pathway covers all potential
activities that are associated with the handling of a medicine,
from obtaining the medicine through to use or administration, and
the disposal of any waste. The pathway is a multistage process and
controlled links are to be established between the relevant

The principles are also to be applied to the
transport of medicines between all stages, storage and security of
medicines, product integrity and health and safety of staff at all
stages. All of these transfer links require the same attention to
detail in order to retain overall control of the medicine.
Arrangements for transport of controlled drugs (CDs), medical gases
need to comply with current legal requirements.

If in doubt, please ask the medicine governance


Carol-Anne Davies-Jones

Chief Pharmacist