NHS prescribing errors puts patients at risk, warn Leicester academics

This image shows sitting, left to right: Prof. Ale Armellini, Dr. Ming Lim and Dr. Rakesh Patel. Standing, from left to right, are: Waseem Mohamed Shahzad (Project coordinator), Dr. Will Green, Maria (Pharmacist), and Mark Fores (Senior Clinical Skills Facilitator). Credit: University of Leicester

Researchers at the University of Leicester are aiming to improve the prescribing behaviour of junior doctors in the NHS which will save lives as well as time and money.

Dr Rakesh Patel from the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, together with Dr Ming Lim and Dr Will Green from the School of Management, were recently awarded a grant from the East Midlands HIEC to develop an educational intervention for reducing among junior doctors.

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) reported a significant year on-year increase in the reporting of medication incidents from England and Wales in 2007 and misprescription is currently costing the NHS over £70 million per annum. A previous study into the prescription behaviour of junior doctors found that 124,260 prescriptions made by foundation doctors across 19 hospitals over seven days contained 11,077 errors, which is 8.9% of all prescriptions.

On the importance of the study, named the ePIFFany Project (Prescribing Insight for the Future), Dr Lim commented: "This issue is an urgent priority for the NHS. Not only does misprescription cost time and money, it puts patients at risk. The notion of patient trust is at the heart of the NHS and prescribing errors lessen this trust significantly. We aim to make a measurable difference in error reduction rates as well as in junior doctors' skills, knowledge and attitudes in complex prescribing situations."

Careless prescribing of drugs causes adverse outcomes to many people every year. Not only do prescribing errors have the potential to cause , they can also induce a significant amount of distress for patients as well.

The project team have expertise in medicine, education, management, evaluation and implementation and will be using a four-strand blended learning approach which combines face-to-face interaction, e-learning, patient simulation and mobile learning. This multi-disciplinary and multi-modal approach aims to reduce misprescription by a significant percentage among .

On why this approach will be most effective, Dr Lim said: "Using different angles to both understand and reduce this problem will allow us to disseminate the results of this study into the medical community which will change attitudes and increase awareness of the importance of a 'safety culture'."

She continues: "We have secured co-funding for part of the intervention from the public and private sector so there are numerous stakeholders connected to this research. We are grateful to the East Midlands HIEC (Health Innovation and Education Cluster), the East Midlands Local Education and Training Board, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Pfizer Ltd for their support of this project. We are also very grateful to University Hospitals Leicester (UHL) for their generous financial and administrative support."

Related Stories

Physicians click their way to better prescriptions

date Mar 10, 2010

Is it time for all community-based doctors to turn to e-prescribing to cut down on the number of medication errors? According to Rainu Kaushal and colleagues from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, electronic ...

GP Prescribing a good standard but improvement possible

date May 02, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- A major study of GP prescribing, led by The University of Nottingham, has found that while the vast majority of prescriptions written by family doctors are appropriate and effectively monitored, around ...

Recommended for you

Footpaths and parks support active school commute

date 5 hours ago

While it probably won't make the idea of attending school more appealing social scientists say different infrastructure and behaviour change programs are key to encouraging young people to take a more active ...

Food barometer measures a population’'s eating habits

date 6 hours ago

A survey by Taylor's-Toulouse University Centre (TTUC) is collecting data on the food habits of individuals and how their choices are related to modernisation and other social factors. Results show that almost ...

Who you gonna call? Beijing smokebusters to go on patrol

date 10 hours ago

China's capital seeks to snuff out smoking in indoor public places on Monday with a new ban, unprecedented fines and a hotline to report offenders, but enforcement is doubtful in one of the world's most tobacco-addicted countries.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.