College welcomes patient safety measures on prescribing

Publication date: 23 February 2018

Responding to Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s proposed measures to reduce medication errors in the NHS, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Identifying and prescribing the drugs that are most likely to benefit a patient is a core part of a GP’s training and daily practice.

GPs work hard to avoid making mistakes in the prescribing process, and our patients should be reassured that in the vast majority of cases, prescriptions are made appropriately and correctly. But as well as being highly-qualified medical professionals, doctors are also human, so medication mistakes can and occasionally do happen.

GPs already use systems designed to help them prescribe safely, but the College would welcome any additional resources or technology that will help to further minimise the risks of making a medication error, such as those outlined by the Health and Social Care Secretary today. Systems better linking prescribing data in primary care to hospital admissions, sound like a particularly good and necessary step forward.

What is essential, is that highlighting that prescribing errors do occasionally happen is not used to admonish hardworking NHS staff – including GPs – for making genuine mistakes, but to address the root cause, and in general practice that is intense resource and workforce pressures, meaning that workloads and working hours are often unsafe for GPs and our teams.

"New measures to help reduce prescribing risk are certainly helpful, but the long-lasting solution to this is a properly funded NHS with enough staff to deliver safe patient care.

Ultimately, we need to see NHS England's GP Forward View, which promises an extra £2.4bn for general practice, 5,000 more GPs and 5,000 more members of the practice team, delivered, in full, as a matter of urgency."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 765
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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