Prescribing and patient safety

David Mullett, RCGP lead for the RCGP/Clinical Practice Research Datalink quality improvement collaboration

Clinicians from across the UK have been using practice-level reports from the RCGP and CPRD to review their prescribing safety. A previous article in Clinical News described the pilot stage of this project, and the reports are now being rolled out to all practices in the CPRD network. More than 200 practices that use vision software have already received the reports, and they will be sent to more than 500 practices during the autumn.

The reports show your practice's prescription rate benchmarked against all practices in the CPRD network, plus pseudonymised identifiers to enable re-identification of patients whose care might need review. There are also recommendations for next steps, based on NICE guidance, and links to further information. The first reports show data for two indicators from the RCGP's Patient Safety Toolkit:

  • Prescription of NSAIDs to patients with heart failure
  • Prescription of glitazone to patients with heart failure

More indicators will be added in future, starting with prescribing to patients with Chronic Kidney Disease and patients with Atrial Fibrillation.

Participating clinicians have used the reports as part of their quality improvement processes: both to review and change the care of individual patients identified in the reports; and to review prescribing more widely, to ensure that all clinicians are following safe prescribing practice.

Feedback from the pilot stage of the project was very positive, with comments including:

  • "As well as helping me to improve patient care, the reports have given me useful evidence to use as part of my revalidation."
  • "Helpful to share with my colleagues."
  • "A helpful process for audit and patient care."
  • "It reiterates and updates good clinical practice."

The reports are based on the CPRD data extract, so to receive the report for your practice you will need to sign up by completing the application form on the CPRD website.


For more information, contact the RCGP project lead David Mullett at:


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