Doctors have called for a standardised prescribing chart for Scotland and for steps to be taken to develop a standardised chart for the UK.

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has urged the Scottish Government to “urgently” adopt a standardised prescribing chart to reduce prescribing errors.

It says a recent study found that in a one week period, 5.9% of consultants and 10.3% of trainee doctors in UK hospitals made some kind of prescribing error, while another found that 1 in 9 hospital prescriptions contain errors.

It also says that one reason for the problems is the range of prescribing charts in use. Wales introduced a national prescribing chart and prescribing standards in 2004.

Dr Neil Dewhurst, president of the RCPE, said: “Local variation in prescribing charts has existed for many years, but has not been addressed by successive governments and should now be given greater priority.

“Putting it simply, patients should expect a standardised system of prescribing, regardless of which hospital in Scotland they are treated.

“Doctors frequently move around the NHS within the four home countries of the UK. It would, therefore, be logical to follow Wales’ example by developing a national prescribing chart for Scotland initially and then work towards a UK prescribing chart for the whole of the NHS.”

The RCPE has also called for a standardised chart to be used to support other quality improvement measures, such as screening patients for blood clots.

Link: Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.