GPs asked to report all child medication errors

GPs are being urged to improve patient safety and report any errors made while treating children, after the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) found that just 4 per cent of safety reports are recorded by GPs.

The report by the NPSA found that there were 910,089 patient safety incidents recorded between October 2007 and September 2008, with the vast majority recorded by hospital doctors.

There was a high rate of medication administration dosing errors, in particular in children under the age of four. The report states that as the majority of children receive their healthcare in the community, improved reporting from this area is essential to improving analysis of patient safety issues for children and subsequent learning.

Dr Karen Roberts, clinical risk manager at the Medical Defence Union, said: 'Treating children can be fraught with difficulty for GPs as children are not mini-adults.

'If things go wrong, GPs should apologise to patients or in the case of young children, to their carers and provide them with a clear explanation of what happened.

'It is just as important to ensure any lessons are learnt from incidents and we encourage GP members to have an adverse incident reporting system in place in their practice and to report incidents to the NPSA under the reporting and learning system.'

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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