Kate Oldfield – managing partner and head of Clinical Negligence – discusses the Significant Rise in Dispensing Errors

Davis Blank Furniss continues to see a significant increase in clients complaining of dispensing errors. A typical example is that a client will visit their pharmacist, they are provided with medication, they take the medication for a few days and then realise that it is incorrect and that they have been provided with either the wrong dose or even the wrong medication entirely.

This mistake is fortunately rare, but last year alone there were 10,000 medical errors across the UK. Often mistakes are recognised early but the stakes can be high.

All pharmacies should operate a double-checking system. Many pharmacists employ a number of dispensers to help prepare the prescriptions. They are specially trained but it is imperative that a qualified pharmacist then checks every prescription before handing it to the patient.  Many drugs have similar names. It also easy to misread a prescription as sadly the standard of GP’s handwriting has not improved.

It is therefore advisable for all of us to check our prescription as soon it is handed to us by our GP. Patients must check that it is their prescription and should be vigilant about changes in the medication prescribed. Once the packaging is open, and the tablets appear to be a different colour, shape or size, patients should question this with the pharmacist.

For more information about Kate and her work, please click HERE.

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