Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Watchdog urges Medicines Vigilance

The Healthcare Commission is urging hospitals to improve the management of medicines in a report published today. The BBC has also reported this story.

Comparative assessments of medicines management in 173 acute hospital trusts rated 18 as "excellent", 70 as "good", 73 as "fair" and 12 as "weak". In the 12 months up to July 2006 there were over 40,000 medication errors reported in hospitals in England and Wales but over 95% of these errors caused little or no harm.

Areas highlighted as requiring improvement include:

  • Giving information to patients
  • Involving pharmacists in patient care
  • Assessing the risks of intravenous drugs
  • Empowering patients to take control of their own medicines

Areas of good performance included management of the risk of infection through prescribing and administering medicines, prevention of allergic reactions and using patients' own drugs upon admission to hospital.

Action: Clinicians may wish to be aware of the reports recommendations if patients express concerns following the media coverage.

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