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Society response to new prescribing safety report

Published: 23 Feb 2018 in Press releases

The British Pharmacological Society today welcomed the publication of a report into the "Prevalence and Economic Burden of Medication Errors in the NHS in England" and called on the government to focus on prescribing education in order to deliver safer care to patients.

Medicines are the most important intervention made by the NHS to treat illness, alleviate suffering and prevent future disease. Well over a billion prescriptions are issued annually in the UK, most of them written by doctors. 

Professor Simon Maxwell, Medical Director of the Prescribing Safety Assessment* said:

The report is a helpful summary of a complex part of the patient safety agenda. E-prescribing, medicines management and safety culture will all play a role in improving outcomes, but education and assessment must lead the way. Unless those who are charged with prescribing and administering medicines have sound knowledge to underpin the important judgments they must make, patients will continue to suffer avoidable harm.

The Prescribing Safety Assessment has built confidence among prescribers in their skills and abilities, as well as forcing those who do not reach basic standards to undergo further training. I would like to see that same approach taken across all prescribing groups in the UK to truly address the issue of prescribing safety among an increasingly diverse group of prescribers.

* The Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) has been developed as a collaboration between the British Pharmacological Society and Medical Schools Council in the UK. The assessment allows all students to demonstrate their competencies in relation to the safe and effective use of medicines. The international version of the PSA can be accessed via: www.bpsassessment.com