Format of the Formulary
The Joint Formulary is arranged in BNF order. It consists of a list of drugs recommended in each section. Each drug is categorised to facilitate prescribing choice.
The prescriber should always ensure they have the expertise to prescribe an agent before making the selection. In its guidelines on responsibility for prescribing between hospitals and general practitioners, the Department of Health has advised that legal responsibility for prescribing lies with the doctor who signs the prescription.
First line drugs - These drugs are recommended as first line agents and may be initiated in both primary and secondary care.
Second line drugs - These drugs are included as alternatives (often in specific conditions) and may be initiated in both primary and secondary care.
Specialist drugs - These are drugs where a specialist input is needed. A specialist is not exclusively a consultant, rather someone with recognised skills (eg. GP with a Specialist Interest, Community Psychiatric Nurse, Microbiologist Culture and Sensitivity report, Tissue Viability Nurse). For example, drugs will be ‘orange' when:
- A specialist starts treatment.
- A specialist provides advice for a specific patient.
- Prescribing is in accordance with specific guidelines developed either included or referenced in the formulary.
Secondary care drugs - Prescribing principally within secondary care
Further information and guidelines may be provided to help prescribers in notes following the drug entry or as appendices. Key information from National Service Frameworks (NSF) and National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines have also been included.
In addition, the following symbols are also used throughout the formulary to assist prescribers:
- CD Controlled Drug
- N Preparations than can be prescribed by Community Practitioner Nurses who have completed the necessary training.
- ACBS Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances.
- SLS Selective List Scheme, for drugs restricted to prescribing under the NHS in certain conditions. The prescriptions for these items need to be endorsed by the prescriber with ‘SLS'.
Last updated by: Carol Webb on 18-10-2012 10:58