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Friday, 23 January 2009

Patients are being harmed and even killed by badly trained doctors who have not been taught how to prescribe drugs properly, leading experts warn.

Patients 'at risk because doctors not trained to prescribe drugs properly'
article in the Telegraph


"Medical students no longer have to prove that they understand how to use many common medicines before they graduate, said Prof David Webb, from Edinburgh University.

Teaching of the subject in medical schools has almost “disappeared”, he added.

Today’s students do not get the chance to practise prescribing under supervision, as previous generations did, and many cannot make the simple calculations needed to assign doses, he added.

Although drugs have become increasing complex over the past 15 years, the teaching of prescribing has declined in medical schools over the same period.

This has meant some nurses are now being taught more about drugs than doctors.

Students no longer have to sit exams specifically in the subject and some are not even taught the basics of how safely to use common drugs like insulin and warfarin, used to thin the blood.

A recent study of patients over the course of their stay at an Edinburgh hospital, found an average of one serious prescribing error per patient.

Although there are no official figures on how many patients have died after being given the wrong drug or the wrong dose, Prof Webb, who outlined his concerns to MPs on the Commons Select Health Committee, said: “The obvious conclusion is that if there are problems with prescribing than that is translating through to patients.”

Prof Jeffrey Aronson, president of the British Pharmacological Society, warned that the number of medical errors was on the rise, in part because of the complexity of using many newer drugs.

He added: “The number of medical errors and adverse drug reactions are on the rise and deaths are on the increase as a result.”"

It's not just the young doctors that are ill-informed; it's the majority of doctors. I've been warning people for many years about the harm done by doctors' reckless prescribing of drugs they know little about...)o: My own health has been destroyed by our overpaid, ill-informed, arrogant medical profession. - Just think of that statement above: "A recent study of patients over the course of their stay at an Edinburgh hospital, found an average of one serious prescribing error per patient"! - That's appalling! - That's just in just one hospital stay! - Indefensible!

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