Mistakes in prescriptions

Researchers at the University of Reading found 1 in 550 GP prescriptions contained serious mistakes.

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Research finds prescription errors

Researchers at the University of Reading found 1 in 550 prescriptions contained a serious error. Credit: ITV Meridian

One in twenty GP prescriptions contains an error according to a major new study by the University of Reading. Among the most common mistakes was missing information on dosage. Researchers found one in every 550 prescriptions contained a serious error which could cause severe harm.

Researchers looking at a sample of GP practices in England found that where there were errors, most were classed as mild or moderate, but around 1 in every 550 prescription items was judged to contain a serious error.

The most common errors were missing information on dosage, prescribing an incorrect dosage, and failing to ensure that patients got necessary monitoring through blood tests.

The research, commissioned by the General Medical Council, is the largest-scale study of its kind. It recommends a greater role for pharmacists in supporting GPs, better use of computer systems and extra emphasis on prescribing in GP training.

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