New guidance has been published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society setting out a standard procedure for transferring patient information relating to medicines to different health services.
The guidelines were produced after it was revealed that vital information about what drugs patients were taking was being lost or mistakes were being made as patients moved from one health service to another.
Research by the organisation found that 4,041 errors were identified in 3,091 reviews of patients’ medicines carried out in 30 hospital trusts across England in September 2010. Around half of these discrepancies ‘could have done significant or non-permanent harm to the patient, according to the study published in the Pharmaceutical Journal.
A total of 162 mistakes were in relation to high-risk drugs like insulin, warfarin, steroids and anti-epileptic medicines.
Heidi Wright, policy and practice lead at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: “There is no standard procedure or specific accountability for communicating medicines information when the patient is discharged or moves places, or any agreed set of information which must be transferred about medicines.”