Written for the NPC by Professor Tony Avery from the University of Nottingham Medical School it discusses medication errors and patient harm in primary care, including:
- Which patients are most at risk from medication errors
- The drugs most commonly associated with preventable adverse events
- The underlying causes of medication errors and how can these be prevented
- Practice points – 10 tips for safe prescribing
The main underlying reasons for prescribing errors are also reviewed including human errors, insufficient knowledge about the patient or medication, slips and lapses, communication problems and failure to adequately monitor and review.
Many of the recommendations in this review appear simple and straightforward but the author notes that, "we need to ask why patients continue to be exposed to unnecessary risk from medicines in our practices" before dismissing this advice.
Action: Clinicians will find this article a useful review of strategies that could improve prescribing safety. It may provide a useful resource when training, reviewing existing prescribing systems or reviewing practice after significant events.
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