GPs prescribing errors - do patients need to worry?

Comment from's blogger Dr Sarah Jarvis responding to GMC's study which has highlighted prescription errors by GPs
May 2, 2012 - PRLog -- Dr Sarah Jarvis says: 'Yet another terrifying headline today tells us that almost 2 million prescriptions a year have potentially serious errors. Mistakes range from not advising clearly on the dose to be taken, to prescribing medicines for people who are allergic to them, or not doing blood tests that could prevent the risk of serious complications.

But do we need to panic? Putting this research into perspective, ‘mild’ or ‘moderate’ errors are unlikely to bring any harm to patients. There were no serious errors identified in over 99.8% of prescriptions studied – and there are 900 million prescriptions issued in the UK every year.

Of course there is no room for complacency. The vast majority of prescriptions are now issued on computers, using systems which flag up possible medicine interactions and other precautions for the patient. GPs must be trained to spot which ones could lead to a potentially serious problem. They need to work more closely with pharmacists, who have in-depth training on managing medicines safely. Just this week, we have taken on a pharmacist to work with the practice to assess all our highest risk patients for exactly this issue...'

To read Dr Sarah's comment in full go to:
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