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Study Reveals Extent Of Prescribing Errors

A study carried out by the General Medical Council (GMC) over the past year has revealed one in 20 GP prescriptions contain an error – either due to a mistake or due to poor standards of patient monitoring.

With 900 million items prescribed in England last year, this accumulates to a total of 45 million prescribing errors. A large proportion of these were deemed to be minor oversights, with common examples including GPs failing to write down what dose a patient should take and when.

However, 1.6 million cases were considered to be severe. Problems were detected in relation to monitoring and follow-up care, particularly with regards to patients not being given routine blood tests to ensure he or she is taking the correct dose. The study highlighted how this can cause serious health complications for a patient, with medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug capable of causing stomach bleeding if taken in excess. Issues were also found with GP computer systems, two of which failed to flag up a patient allergy, resulting in them taking medication to which they were known to have an adverse reaction to.

The research has revealed GP prescribing errors stand at around 5%. This is lower than in hospitals, which were found to have a prescribing error rate of around 8% in a previous study.

Commenting on the findings, the health secretary Andrew Lansley, said: “Patient safety is paramount. The vast majority of prescriptions are checked by community pharmacists, who spot and put right any errors when they are dispensed. Patients can be confident that the medicines they receive are safe and appropriate.

“We have worked to improve and increase the training medical students receive in prescribing skills, and we are working with GPs to see how we can best support them to work with pharmacists and improve the safety and effectiveness of prescribing. We will continue to work with pharmacists and GPs to reduce prescribing errors and make the best use of medicines.”

Have You Been Injured Because Of A Prescribing Error?

Whether in hospital or at your GP surgery, if you have been injured as a result of a prescribing error, you need to contact a medical negligence solicitor. This is because a doctor who makes a prescribing error is likely to have displayed a lack of skill and attention. This represents a substandard level of medical care; a patient injured because of this incompetence will be considered a victim of medical negligence and will, therefore, be entitled to claim compensation for the damages sustained.

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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