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University of Nottingham's Professor Tony Avery gave this year's James MacKenzie lecture at the Royal College of General Practitioners Annual General Meeting on November 18 with the title: ‘A prescription for safe and effective care’.

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The lecture highlighted some of the advances in therapeutics that place GPs at the forefront of reducing morbidity and mortality in the populations they serve. He noted that this is something that the profession should feel proud about, but it is essential for us to maintain the trust of our patients by prescribing judiciously and safely in the light of widespread media concerns about prescribing errors and frequent ‘scares’ about medication side-effects. In the lecture Tony provided his ‘prescription for safe and effective care’ by exploring a range of approaches that GPs can take to help ensure that patients gain maximum benefit from their medicines while limiting the risks of harm. This involves careful consideration of whether to prescribe, what to prescribe and how to prescribe, while working in partnership with patients and pharmacists and drawing upon accurate information at the point of decision-making. The lecture also highlighted the importance of medication review and the role of the GP in dealing with polypharmacy. The lecture is available here.