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  • 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017
  • Project No: 306
  • Funding round: FR 11

Safe prescribing is an important part of a GP's work. However, we know from previous research studies that GPs sometimes make mistakes when prescribing that may lead to patients taking the wrong medication, or taking their medication in a way that makes it less effective. GPs in training may have particular difficulties with prescribing, as they have to get used to working in GP surgeries, rather than in hospitals, and so it is important to find ways to help GPs in training to prescribe more safely.

We recently carried out a small-scale research study to review the prescribing of 10 GPs in training. This involved a specially trained pharmacist reviewing about 100 prescriptions that had been issued by the 10 GPs in training and feeding back details regarding each individual's prescribing to both the GP in training and their trainer in the form of an individualised report. We also conducted interviews with the GPs in training and their trainers to find out what they thought about the review and whether they found it useful.

We found that GPs in training made a greater number of prescribing errors than expected (based on our previous research) and that there was the potential to improve prescribing in more than four in ten prescriptions. The GPs in training and their trainers found the prescribing review to be beneficial to their prescribing practice.

This has important implications in terms of patient safety and quality of care. Therefore, we plan to speak to people from key medical, pharmacy, and patient organisations to explore how this personalised review of prescribing should be taken forward: either by carrying out a much larger research study or by adopting a targeted or widespread roll out of the prescribing review in its current format.

Amount awarded: £51,497

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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