The purpose of this report is to attempt to estimate the hidden costs of Dangerous Drugs legislation. We attempted to quantify the amount of time consumed by prescribing, obtaining, and using dangerous drugs and non-dangerous drugs. The difference between these two series of measurement gives an estimate of the time cost of using dangerous rather than non-dangerous drugs. This time cost was translated into money terms by the use of current nursing salaries. This hospital estimate of the cost of dangerous drug legislation was then aggregated to give an estimate of the legislation's total cost in England and Wales. The exercise, prompted by criticism of the adequacy of ward pain rounds, indicates that if a non-dangerous drug of similar properties could replace dangerous drugs, resources could be freed for use in improving the quality of hospital care.
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