Medical Negligence News

GMC Admits One-in-Twenty Prescribed Wrong Medication

Posted on: September 4th, 2013 by Medical Negligence

Research conducted for the General Medical Council has revealed that one-in-twenty prescriptions issued by GPs contain an error – with the most serious cases being where a patient has been prescribed the wrong medication.

Researchers from Nottingham University looked at a sample of GP practices in England and found that where there were errors most were classed as mild or moderate – the most common errors being missing information on dosage and prescribing an incorrect dosage.

However, around one in every five hundred prescription items was judged to contain a serious error – with the potentially most damaging involving the prescribing of anti-inflammatory medicines without first checking if patients were at risk of a stomach bleed.

Despite the study revealing that GPs were also found to be failing to monitor blood tests and patients prescribed blood-thinning drugs such as Warfarin, Professor Tony Avery, Professor of Primary Health Care at the University of Nottingham said in his report “Few prescriptions were associated with significant risks to patients but it’s important that we do everything we can to avoid all errors.”

Chair of the General Medical Council, Professor Sir Peter Rubin, commented on the report by saying, “GPs are typically very busy, so we have to ensure they can give prescribing the priority it needs. Using effective computer systems to ensure potential errors are flagged and patients are monitored correctly is a very important way to minimise errors. Doctors and patients could also benefit from greater involvement from pharmacists in supporting prescribing and monitoring.”

As a result of the research, and a study in 2009 that examined the number of times patients were prescribed the wrong medicine by junior doctors in hospitals, the General Medical Council has increased its emphasis on correct prescription techniques in medical school curricula. However, for those patients who have suffered an injury due to being prescribed the wrong medicine, these steps are too little, too late.

If you have sustained a loss, injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to a prescription error, you should speak with a personal injury solicitor at the first possible opportunity about claiming compensation for being prescribed wrong medicine.