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Published on 23 August 2010

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Call to standardise health charts

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The various charts used by health board across Scotland should be scrapped in favour of a standard system for prescriptions to improve patient safety and reduce mistakes, according a doctors’ group.

The risk of mistakes by doctors moving between hospitals is raised by the variations in the charts used by the health boards, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) said. The wrong dosage or medicines can be given, potentially causing patients to have adverse reactions to other treatments, the group said.

It has called for the country to follow the trend set by Wales in 2004 and introduce a national prescribing chart.

President Neil Dewhurst said: “Local variation in prescribing charts has existed for many years, but has not been addressed by successive governments and should now be given greater priority.

“Putting it simply, patients should expect a standardised system of prescribing regardless of which hospital in Scotland they are treated.”

Dr Dewhurst added: “Doctors also frequently move around the NHS within the four home countries of the UK.

“It would therefore be logical to follow Wales’s example by developing a national prescribing chart for Scotland initially and then to work towards a UK-wide prescribing chart for use across the whole of the NHS.”

The RCPE said the introduction of a standardised drug chart would also support the implementation of nationally-agreed programmes.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh



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