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Medication errors

Untidy shelves among causes of medicine dispensing errors

Untidy shelves, replacing split strips of tablets back into open boxes of the wrong strength, and self-checking prescriptions, were among the factors causing almost a quarter of medication errors in independent community pharmacies in Scotland, a report has found.

The National Pharmacy Association’s (NPA) patient safety incident report for Scotland was published on 19 June 2019 and written by Leyla Hannbeck, medication safety officer and director of pharmacy at the NPA. It found that 23% of patient safety incidents reported between October 2018 and March 2019 were a result of the “wrong strength” of medicine being dispensed. Cluttered shelves and split packets were also cited as contributing factors.

Dispensing the wrong medicine was the most common error, accounting for 32% of cases recorded by the NPA, the report found.

Some 19% of errors were categorised to be as a result of a mismatch between the patient and medicine; 13% of the errors resulted from issues around medicine compliance aids; and 10% of incidents involved deliveries to patients.

The report said that 6% of cases were categorised as ‘moderate harm’ to patients, while ‘low harm’ was recorded in 10% of cases. However, ‘no harm’ was caused to patients in the majority of reports (84%), the analysis revealed.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206700

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