Supporting junior doctors in safe prescribing

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Supporting junior doctors in safe prescribing is a new guide for supporting junior doctors when prescribing in hospitals, built on published evidence and best practice. 

Key recommendations

  • Prescribing induction should be practically focused and should cover key safety principles.
  • Postgraduate medical education leads must work collaboratively with medication safety officers to identify opportunities to promote safer prescribing within the wider curriculum.
  • Junior doctors should be provided with regular feedback on prescribing errors; this should be done in a structured and supportive manner.
  • Incident reports and other routinely collected data on prescribing errors should be used to identify areas for improvement and should feed into both quality improvement initiatives and postgraduate education and training.
  • Active efforts need to be made by trusts to create safer working environments to support safe prescribing.
  • Implementation of these recommendations within trusts should be supported by a board level directorwith responsibility for quality and safety.

Why create this guide?

Junior doctors are responsible for two thirds of all hospital prescriptions. Prescribing is a significant part of their role, but despite this, induction processes and postgraduate teaching around safe prescribing can be variable. Moreover, there is lack of a concerted effort to address the safety culture around safe prescribing, with junior doctors often being unaware of their mistakes and not always receiving the feedback that they need to learn and to continuously improve.

Prescribing is a significant part of their [junior doctors] role, but despite this, induction processes and postgraduate teaching around safe prescribing can be variable.

Who is this guidance for?

The aim of this guidance is to give postgraduate medical education leads and those responsible for quality and safety within trusts a framework to address these issues. We believe that the implementation of these recommendations will lead to improved support for junior doctors and safer care for patients.