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In May 2012, a UK University said that GP drug blunders hit 40% of the elderly

November 26, 2012

 

In May 2012, a UK University said that GP drug blunders hit 40% of the elderly.

Patients were being given unnecessary pills and wrong doses, with some patients in rare cases even prescribed drugs to which they were allergic.

The pioneering research from the University of Nottingham found that 4 in 10 of those aged 75 plus that were on medication had within the last year been affected by a medical blunder.

This ranged from being given unnecessary drugs or the wrong dose. Some were also not given crucial treatments alongside their medicine to protect against side-effects.

The University of Nottingham Researchers even discovered some patients were prescribed drugs to which they were allergic and this was highlighted as being rare.

In its first ever study, The University of Nottingham academics examined the records of 1,777 patients of all ages in 15 surgeries throughout England and looked for mistakes.

From this they found that 1 in 20 of the prescriptions given to patients within the last year contained a mistake that ranged from the minor to indeed the more worryingly serious. However, it was the elderly, classed as the over-75s, who were twice as likely to be given incorrect medication. The reason for this is because they are the age group more likely to be taking more medication than the younger age groups. GPs were considered to be failing in carrying out proper checks that ensure that the strong drugs were not causing any harmful side-effects.

Study leader at the University of Nottingham, Professor Tony Avery blamed the mistakes on GPs not properly being trained to prescribe certain drugs, and being distracted by patients during consultations. Professor Tony Avery said:

‘GPs work under considerable time pressure with frequent distractions and interruptions,’

‘Often prescribing is squeezed at the end of a consultation. Few prescriptions were associated with significant risks to patients but it’s important we do everything we can to avoid all errors.’

Professor Avery, an expert in primary health care, stressed that only a handful of errors were likely to be putting patients at ‘significant risk’.

42% of the mistakes were classed as ‘minor’, which included patients not being given proper instructions on when to take drugs. Another 54% were ‘moderate’, which often included patients being given ibuprofen or other painkillers without medication to prevent stomach bleeds. The remaining 4% were classified as ‘serious’.

For more information, please click on the following link: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2012/may/gp-prescribing-improvement-possible.aspx

For more information, please click on the following link:  http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2012/february/inhousepharmacists.aspx