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Checks uncover wrong medicine doses


Pharmacists are forced to check tens of thousands of prescriptions every week which contain the wrong doses, quantities and instructions for medicines, data suggests.

In just one week 44,500 prescriptions had to be double-checked in 4,409 pharmacies across England, according to Pharmacy Voice which represents community pharmacy owners.

Inaccuracies on the prescriptions even include the wrong drugs and incorrect strengths and quantities.

Pharmacy Voice said the prescription “incidents”, recorded during a one-week audit at each of the pharmacies last year, are typically resolved by a telephone conversation with the prescriber or the practice team.

Rob Darracott, Pharmacy Voice chief executive, said: “This data shows the value of safety checks carried out in pharmacies and the importance of information transfer between prescriber, patient and pharmacist.

“This is not about GPs failing. It is about teamwork in primary care working well. Your local pharmacy works in tandem with doctors to ensure the effective and safe use of medicines.

“This is all in a day’s work for community pharmacies which check the appropriateness of 900 million prescription items a year.”


Readers' comments (2)

  • Richard Paterson Hicom

    The alarming amount of prescription inaccuracies found by Pharmacy Voice highlights the need for accurate recording and auditing of these incidents in order to prevent future medicine errors. Prevention here is key – pharmacists must look at ways to accurately record incidents of error and analyse trends to minimise the incident reoccurring.

    By utilising technology to report on and give visibility of incidents, organisations can improve their processes to be secure and audited. With this comes increased visibility and the basis of a strategy to ensure best practice to curb inaccuracies.

    With accuracy in prescription dispensing absolutely critical, it is becoming ever more important that pharmacists utilise the best technology tools available in order to reduce and ultimately illuminate prescription inaccuracies and protect customers.

    Richard Paterson,
    Business Development Manager

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  • what happens to prescriptions which slip through the safety network of these pharmacist checks?

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