Hospital Dr News

New prescribing support for junior doctors released by Royal College of Physicians

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has released new guidance to support junior doctors when prescribing in hospitals.

The guidance, Supporting Junior Doctors in Safe Prescribing, calls for the provision of more practical and interactive prescribing training for junior doctors to help reduce errors, as well as greater support from hospital trusts to create safer working environments for junior doctors to prescribe.

The resource recommends that postgraduate medical education leads work collaboratively with medication safety officers to identify opportunities to cover safe prescribing within medical education. The resource also highlights the need to address the safety culture around prescribing, by encouraging active efforts to learn from errors, both at an individual and system level.

Junior doctors are responsible for two thirds of all hospital prescriptions, with an estimated 7% of all hospital medication orders affected by prescribing errors.

John Dean, RCP director of patient safety and quality improvement, said: “Prescribing of medicines is one of the commonest and most important actions undertaken by doctors. It is also one of the commonest areas where error occurs.

“Supporting doctors in safe prescribing, particularly in the earliest parts of their careers, is essential for safe practice. This guidance is built on published evidence and best practice, and will support medical, pharmacy and education leaders in Trusts to have good systems in place for the safety of patients and staff.”

Josie Cheetham, Junior doctor representative, Student and Foundation Doctor Network (SFDN), added: “As current medical students and foundation doctors, we acknowledge the considerable efforts that have been made to support us in our commitment to being competent prescribers.

“However, we feel that greater nationwide efforts are still needed to support the challenging transition to prescribing. We look forward to seeing how this guidance can be translated into feasible and effective initiatives to support prescribing by junior, in particular, newly qualified doctors.”

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