New bid to eradicate prescription errors

New measures have been introduced at Ipswich Hospital to reduce the number of errors made with prescriptions, it was claimed today.

IPSWICH: New measures have been introduced at Ipswich Hospital to reduce the number of errors made with prescriptions, it was claimed today.

A new study commissioned by the General Medical Council revealed that errors occurred in one in ten hospital prescriptions.

The mistakes included omitting drugs, wrong doses, not taking account of a patient's allergies, illegible handwriting or ambiguous orders.

The study found that newly qualified doctors made mistakes in 8.4 per cent of their prescriptions, while consultants made the fewest mistakes, in 5.9pc of their drug orders.

The study said: “A 'safety culture' was conspicuous by its absence from respondents' discourses of their prescribing errors, the reported culture of their working environments and the reported actions of other doctors.

“Doctors relied heavily on pharmacists and nurses to identify and correct errors.”

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Many of the errors were associated with drug charts which doctors were unfamiliar with as each hospital may use a different version. The General Medical Council has called for a single drug chart to be used as standard across the NHS.

This idea has been backed by Ipswich Hospital as long as it helps reduce the number of errors made with prescriptions.

Jan Rowsell, Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said a drive was launched last year at the hospital to reduce the number of drug errors.

She said: “Patient safety is our top priority. Reducing drug errors is one of our top three areas to look at. There is a lot of work going on with this already, involving senior clinicians and pharmacists. There is a real drive for people to report drug errors.

“It is not about blaming people but learning.”

Are you a doctor that feels strongly on this topic? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.