UK Study: Safe Prescribing Training Lacking in Some Junior Doctors
A study by Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) and the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom found there was a lack of training in safe prescribing for doctors in their foundation year 2 (F2).
The research team’s results point to an insufficient emphasis on training in practical safe prescribing compared with that of F1 doctors – even though a 2009 EQUIP study by the General Medical Council (GMC) showed F2 doctors have the highest prescribing error rate. The study’s data also suggests there was a considerable variation in the safe prescribing training delivered in the different NHS hospitals.
Dr Michael Okorie, Senior Lecturer in Medicine and Medical Education at BSMS, who spoke on behalf of the research team, said: “We were concerned to see that despite F2 doctors making the most errors in prescribing, they do not seem to be receiving optimal training in this area. With an aging population and increasing reliance on medication, we need to ensure that all doctors, especially in their early years, receive appropriate training in practical prescribing.
“We hope that our study results prompt NHS hospital trusts to review the safe prescribing training delivered to foundation doctors and prescribers in general. We would also recommend the development of minimum standards for safe prescribing training across the NHS, particularly in the induction period and for F2 doctors.”
The 2009 EQUIP study on prescribing errors by foundation doctors in NHS hospitals revealed that F1 and F2 doctors were responsible for the vast majority of prescribing, foundation doctors had a higher prescribing error rate compared to more experienced doctors, and F2 doctors had the highest error rate of 10.3%.
The researchers say prescription of medicines is the most common healthcare intervention in the NHS and although the intention is to improve patient outcomes, there is a potential to cause harm – and, unfortunately, prescribing errors remains a significant cause of concern and can compromise patient safety.