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Guessing the instructions would have been reckless

I thought the worst aspect of the Welsh language prescription saga (PJ 2014;292:36) was that the pharmacist involved was castigated for being careful. The doctor’s action was at best cavalier and should the medicine have been required for emergency treatment, I would have considered the action reckless.

The pharmacist had the responsibility of interpreting the prescription. Having it translated by a third party or perhaps another member of staff opens up the question of who is legally responsible for interpreting the prescription, especially if it were handwritten.

In the case of this particular prescription the prednisolone directions could have been written “2 yn nawr” or “2 nawr” or even “2 rwan”, depending on where in Wales one lives. (I note that “soluble”, etc, did not warrant a Welsh translation.) I look forward to hearing the response of hospital pharmacists to prescriptions handwritten in Welsh for cytotoxic medicines and Controlled Drugs.

David Jones

Retired Hospital Pharmacist


Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11133874

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