40 per cent of elderly patients handed prescription containing an error

Forty per cent of elderly people are handed a prescription with an error in it – and sometimes the mistake is fatal.  Overall, doctors in the UK write 45 million prescriptions every year that contain an error, a new study has discovered.

In 180,000 cases, the error is so serious that it could kill the patient, a survey for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has discovered.

Not surprisingly, the over-75s are at greatest risk because they are handed the most prescriptions.  Four out of 10 elderly patients were handed a prescription during the year covered by the survey that contained an error.

The most common mistakes were prescribing an incorrect dosage – which, in itself, could be fatal – or failing to indicate any dosage.

The survey was based on 15 general practices around the UK, and included the analysis of 1,777 patient records and 6,048 prescriptions.
(Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society).


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