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College welcomes patient safety measures on prescribing

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."

@rcgp

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