Prescribing errors – what do patients think?

Patients are to be asked what more can be done to make prescribing safer. Researchers at The University of Nottingham want to know what, if any, worries the public has about GP prescribing and to seek their views on safe prescribing.

The invitation follows a recent study led by Tony Avery, Professor of Primary Care and a practicing Nottingham GP. The research, commissioned by the General Medical Council, was the largest-scale study of its kind. It showed that while the vast majority of prescriptions written by family doctors are appropriate and effectively monitored — about one in 20 contain an error and one in every 550 prescription items was judged to contain a serious error.

As well as talking to patients about their experiences and suggestions they will also be discussing their findings with various health care professionals.

Dr Avery’s research, published in May this year, found that dosage information might be missing or incorrect, or patients did not get the necessary monitoring through blood tests. The study provided an important insight into how errors in prescribing come about and researchers now want to ask patients how they think prescribing can be improved.

Improvements can be made

Members of the public from the Nottinghamshire area are invited to attend two of 10 focus groups which will be held at the School of Pharmacy on University Park in Nottingham. There will be places for 8 to 10 people in each group and academics are keen to hear from older people or their carers

The original research, published in May this year, provided an important insight into how errors in prescribing came about and the researchers found that improvements could be made to reduce the error rate. The research recommended a greater role for pharmacists in supporting GPs, better use of computer systems and extra emphasis on prescribing in GP training.

The focus groups will be held on Thursday 11th October at 12.30 and Tuesday 23rd October at 12.30. Each session will last about 90 minutes to two hours. Anyone interested in attending should contact Rosie Hunt, or call her on 0115 823 0209. Together with an inconvenience allowance, lunch and travel expenses will be provided.


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