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Monday 24th June 2019

GPs making too many drug errors

2nd May 2012

A review by the General Medical Council has found that GPs are making errors when prescribing medication to their patients.


The official regulator's review showed that a sixth of people on prescription medication were affected by the mistakes, with young people and the elderly at the highest risk of being given the wrong type or amount of drugs.

The report, which referenced a study of 1,200 patients, said most of the errors were "minor" and many would be put right by a pharmacist before the patient took the drugs.

However the GMC said improvements needed to be made and added that GPs should receive training on the issue.

Lead researcher Professor Tony Avery explained: "It's important we do everything we can to avoid all errors." 

The report added that GP consultation times should be increased to 15 minutes, instead of the existing length of 10 minutes, in order to reduce time constraints on doctors.

The research showed that 18% of patients were given an incorrect prescription over the course of a year, with the most prevalent mistake being "incomplete information" on the prescription, followed by errors related to doses.

In people aged over 75, the number of prescription errors increased to 38%. The report found 4% of mistakes were "severe".

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association said: "It is deeply worrying that such dangerous mistakes are being made."

"Patient safety is paramount yet still these avoidable errors are slipping through the net." 


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