Requests for sedative prescriptions for procedures and scans

We are unable to prescribe sedatives, such as diazepam, for any procedure or scan being undertaken outside the practice, this includes MRI scans and dental procedures.

If you feel you need sedation in such circumstances, please speak to the team undertaking the procedure or scan, as they are responsible for providing this if needed. All our local NHS hospitals have formal procedures in place for sedation during procedures, so you shouldn’t be directed to your GP for this.

Sedatives are medicines which make patients sleepy and relaxed. There are several reasons why GPs at The Thornton Practice do not prescribe these medicines for procedures outside of our practice:

  • GPs are not regularly involved, skilled, trained or appraised in sedation skills. Providing too little sedation won’t help you, providing too much sedation can make you too sleepy, which could lead to the procedure being cancelled. Too much sedation can dangerously affect your breathing. After taking a sedative for a procedure or scan, you will need to be closely monitored to keep you safe.
  • Although diazepam makes most people who take it sleepy, in some rare situations it can have an opposite effect and make people aggressive or agitated.
  • Scans and hospital procedures are often delayed, therefore the team performing he procedure or scan should provide the sedation, to ensure you become sleepy and relaxed at the right time.
  • Sedated patients should be regularly monitored and there has been a case where a GP prescribed sedative was used, the patient wasn’t monitored and subsequently had a respiratory arrest in an MRI machine.
  • The Royal College of Radiologists own guidelines on sedation for imaging makes no mention of GP involvement or prescribing and stresses the importance of experienced well-trained staff being involved and the need for monitoring of sedated patients.

Feel free to show this policy to your hospital team or dentist.