MPS guidance for doctors working in slimming clinics

01 Aug 2012

MPS endorses the GMC's Good Practice in Prescribing Medicines guidance and expects members to prescribe medicines only after proper assessment, and as part of an overall management plan

The management of obesity in the private sector has come under increasing scrutiny from the MHRA and GMC, resulting in regulatory action being taken against some doctors.

MPS recognises that the specialist treatment of obesity may occasionally give clinicians reason to depart from clinical guidelines agreed nationally or locally. However, MPS endorses the guidance issued by the GMC in Good Practice in Prescribing Medicines (2008), and expects members to prescribe medicines only after proper assessment, and as part of an overall management plan.

MPS anticipates that the majority of patients will be treated in line with nationally agreed guidelines, such as those published by the BNF under the heading, "Drugs used in the Treatment of Obesity", or those issued by bodies including the Royal College of Physicians and Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network.

MPS will expect members prescribing medication outside of these guidelines to be able to justify this on a clinical basis. Members should ensure that clinics where they practise comply with the registration requirements set down by the Care Quality Commission (in England), Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (in Northern Ireland), Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care, or Healthcare Inspectorate Wales as appropriate, or an equivalent local body if applicable.

MPS expects members to follow this guidance, and a member’s failure to do so will call into question the nature or extent of assistance that we might offer in the event of a claim or other incident. MPS is unlikely to assist where the prescription of centrally acting appetite suppressants is the main or substantial intervention provided to patients by a clinic or practice.

In the absence of exceptional clinical justification, the benefits of MPS membership are not available in respect of incidents arising from the prescription of sibutramine, dexfenfluramine and fenfluramine, which have been withdrawn from the UK market on the grounds of patient safety concerns. 

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