On 21 January 2009, the Department of Health published Defining Guiding Principles for Processes Supporting Local Decision Making about Medicines – Final Report (the final report). During the consultation on the NHS Constitution (the Constitution) it was decided that there was a need to support processes for local decision making about medicines in PCTs across England. This resulted in the publication of the final report. The Constitution, which came into force on 21 January 2009, aims amongst other things to address variations in the availability of medicines and treatments resulting from inconsistencies in local decision making processes.

The final report is divided into five sections. These sections are:

  1. Introduction;
  2. Guiding Principles for Processes supporting Local Decision Making about Medicine;
  3. Context for the Focus Group Series Workstream developing the Guiding Principles;
  4. The Guiding Principles and Supporting Information; and
  5. Appendices.

The guiding principles set out in sections 2 and 4 are core to the final report. The purpose of the guiding principles is to improve the consistency and quality of local decision making on medicines and to reassure patients that there will be a common, rational framework within which such decisions should be made. The guiding principles address the following issues:

  • governance and accountability;
  • procedures;
  • criteria for decision making;
  • documentation;
  • timelines;
  • appeals processes;
  • engagement;
  • communication; and
  • implementation and process improvement.

The final report can be found here.