BMA guidance

Patient group and patient specific directions

This guidance is for GP practices to check the situations in which you should use a patient group direction. Get examples and definitions of when you should use a patient group or patient specific direction to administer prescription only medicines.

Location: England
Audience: GPs Practice managers
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
Topics: GP practices
GP practice article illustration

What you'll get from this guide

  • Definitions and examples of patient specific and patient group directions.
  • Common questions and answers.
  • A checklist of what should be included in a patient group direction​.


How to use this guide

The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 do not permit non-qualified prescribers to administer or supply prescription only medicines unless one of three types of instruction is in place:

  • a signed prescription
  • a patient specific direction (PSD)
  • a patient group direction (PGD).

If non-prescribing healthcare professionals administer a medicine on the instruction of a GP, the GP must be able to show that the healthcare professional has authority for that administration via one of the above methods.


  • PGD definition and checklist
  • PSD definition and format
  • What to include in a PGD
  • Nurses as prescribers
  • The role of LMCs
  • Health care assistants as prescribers
  • What medicines PGDs can be used for
  • Travel clinics and immunisations
  • Signing off a PGD
  • Instructions from secondary care