Local decision-making

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Local decision-making - APC guide

Managing medicines across a health community — A fitness for purpose framework for area prescribing and medicines management committees

Date of publication:

November 2009

This is a web-based only document.

This guide outlines an updated fitness for purpose framework for APCs which replaces the version published in 2007. It can be used to help establish an APC where one does not exist, help APCs in abeyance to review and restate their role, or help to identify where improvements to functioning APCs might be made. It can also be used to help existing APCs review their processes in line with the requirements of the NHS Constitution and associated guidance.

Area prescribing and medicines management committees (APCs) are local groups whose members are clinicians, providers and commissioners working together to ensure that patients have safe and consistent access to medicines in the context of care pathways which cross multiple providers.  APCs promote cooperation and consistency of approach in the commissioning process. They also enable local NHS stakeholders and clinicians to exert an influence on the prioritisation, improvement and development of healthcare delivery related to medicines.

APCs will continue to have a key role in ensuring that robust standards and governance underpin and provide accountability for community wide decision making about medicines particularly as new providers emerge. In addition, PCTs now have a statutory requirement to ensure that the processes underpinning local decision-making about medicines and treatments are consistent with the NHS Constitution and supporting guidance. APCs are a key component of how health communities make local decisions and so APCs need to be fully consistent with the Constitution’s requirements.

Complete Document

The following sections, all contained within the guide can be downloaded separately as listed below:

Core document (without appendices)

Appendix 1: APC checklist (consistent with DH guiding principles for processes supporting local decision-making about medicines)

Appendix 2: How APCs can help PCT's deliver a range of  WCC competencies

In addition, APCs may find the following of use:

Useful sources of information for Area Prescribing and Medicines Management Committees (APCs).

It is important that APCs are aware of the information and support that is available nationally to help them understand and manage high quality, safe and cost-effective prescribing in the overall commissioning process. This short guide contains a summary of a range of information resources available to APCs to assist them in their advisory and decision-making capacities.