Always check your Prescription!

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The study revealed that overall, mistakes had been made on prescriptions for one in eight patients and in those patients aged 75 or over, four in ten prescriptions contained errors.  Prescribing errors included: incomplete information on the prescription; dosing or strength errors; and incorrect timing of medications.

As well as the prescriptions themselves, it seems that failures to monitor the impact of medications was also identified.  'Failure to request monitoring' was identified in 69% of those records reviewed and examples given included patients being prescribed antihypertensives for high blood pressure and not having their blood pressure monitored!

Interestingly, incidence of errors seemed to increase depending on the type of drug being prescribed.  Examples given were those medications associated with cardiovascular disease, infections and cancer.  Focus groups held with GPs revealed a number of underlying causes for this problem including time pressures, distractions and lack of robust computer systems for both drug selection and monitoring.  With 42% of errors judged to be minor, 54% moderate, and 4% severe, the GMC has recommended that GPs received better training on safe prescribing and has encouraged a closer working relationships between and pharmacists.

Read the full story here.

Sam Ward
Nurse Adviser and Medical Researcher
Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury team

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