Medication errors, which include (i) wrong medications given, (ii) incorrect doses and (iii) delays in medication being administered, cause an estimated 700 deaths per year and might play a role in something between 1,700 to 22,300 further avoidable deaths.
“GPs, pharmacists, hospitals and care homes may be making 237 million errors a year”.
An estimated 66 million (potentially) clinically significant medication errors occur in England every year. Definitely avoidable adverse drug reactions (ADRs) cost the NHS £98.5 million per year. The prevalence and economic burden of ADRs consist of:
“Primary care ADRs leading to a hospital admission (costing £83.7 million; causing 627 deaths); Secondary care ADRs leading to a longer hospital stay (costing £14.8 million; causing 85 deaths and contributing to 1,081 deaths)”. p.4.
Use of electronic prescribing systems in more hospitals could help to reduce errors significantly.
More openness about mistakes should allow the NHS to learn from such drug errors.
Triggle, N. (2018). Drug errors cause appalling harm and deaths, says Hunt. London: BBC Health News, February 23rd 2018.
This relates to:
Elliott, RA. Camacho, E. [and] Campbell, F. [et al] (2018). Prevalence and economic burden of medication errors in the NHS in England. London: Policy Research Unit in Economic Evaluation of Health & Care Interventions (EEPRU), February 22nd 2017.
A Department of Health and Social Care report presents recommendations for reducing medication errors and improving medicines safety. Early priorities include improving shared decision making, encouraging the reporting of medication errors, shared care arrangements across primary and secondary care, and encouraging shared learning by asking the NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service to develop a repository of best practice.
The Report of the Short Life Working Group on reducing medication-related harm. London: Department of Health and Social Care, February 23rd 2018.