Improving patient safety
Reducing human error to improve patient safety
The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) estimates that avoidable harm from medication prescribing costs NHS England more than £750million each year (NPSA, 2007). A significant portion of these costs are attributed to medication and administering error. The EQUIP study (Dornan et al, 2009), commissioned by the General Medical Council to investigate the contribution of junior doctors to medication errors, found the error rate among junior doctors to be 8.9 per 100 prescriptions, higher than any other healthcare professional, e.g. consultants, nurses or pharmacists. Whilst the error rate was high, the more significant finding from a patient safety perspective suggested the notion of safety to be inconspicuous by its absence from the minds of junior doctors.