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Prescribing errors by family practice residents
  1. Anthony J Avery
  1. Professor A J Avery, Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham Medical School, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK; tony.avery{at}

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Prescribing errors are an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Recently there has been particular concern about prescribing errors among doctors in training. For example, in the UK a number of influential clinicians have raised serious concerns about undergraduate training in pharmacology and therapeutics.1 As a result, the General Medical Council has recently commissioned research to try to determine how common prescribing errors are among junior doctors and to try to assess the extent to which errors are related to deficiencies in training.

Given the lack of studies of prescribing errors among doctors in training, the paper by Al Khaja et al2 in this edition of the Journal (see page 198) provides an important contribution to the literature. Focusing on the Family Practice Residency Programme in Bahrain, the authors judged that, from nearly 2700 dispensed prescriptions, there were major errors in 88% of these. Interestingly, there were no differences in total numbers of errors between doctors who had been through a problem-based learning undergraduate medical degree in Bahrain and doctors who were trained on other types …

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  • Competing interests: In 2007 AJA received payment for running a therapeutics course for the Family Practice Residency Programme in Bahrain.

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