Cost-effective prescribing: Medical schools must take responsibility

Mohammed A. Rashid, Academic Clinical Fellow,
April 29, 2013

Nwulu and colleagues present a highly relevant analysis of the financial implications of prescribing by F1 doctors in a UK teaching hospital1.

It seems that the most important of the recommendations they discuss are for undergraduate medical education. Whilst they mention that most of the 79 doctors they investigated graduated from the same medical school, they do not categorise this further. As their data indicate, the large majority of doctors performed to a very similar level to the reference doctor, with a minority on either end of the spectrum proving to be the most cost-effective and lavish prescribers. This raises the possibility that the doctors at the extremes of this range may have been the minority that trained at alternative medical schools.

As they highlight, further studies are needed across the country, although they may prove to be more of a challenge in trusts that do not have electronic prescribing systems. Future work into this area may benefit from investigating the medical schools at which doctors trained. As these doctors are in their first year after graduating, conclusions may be drawn about the extent to which medical schools are covering the financial aspects of prescribing in their clinical pharmacology curricula. With the increasing importance of cost-effectiveness in the NHS, this important topic should be on the agenda of medical educators across the UK in order to breed a new generation of financially astute prescribers.

1. Nwulu U, Hodson J, Thomas SK, et al. Variation in cost of newly qualified doctors' prescriptions: a review of data from a hospital electronic prescribing system. Postgrad Med J Published Online First: [30 March 2013] doi:10.1136/postgradmedj- 2012-131334

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

Conflict of Interest

None declared