Wrong Prescriptions Given 3331 Times

10 July 2015, 14:09 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50


Patients have been prescribed the wrong drugs more than 3 thousand times in the last five years, according to figures revealed through a Freedom of Information request.

The heroin substitute methadone and steroids are among the medications prescribed in error by hospitals and pharmacies in Scotland, the Conservatives have said.

Data obtained by the party using freedom of information laws shows there have been 3,331 occasions when incorrect prescriptions have been issued since 2010.

Health boards have paid out nearly 200,000 pounds in compensation for such incidents over that time, with another 10 claims being pursued at the moment.

More than half of the prescription errors occurred in Scotland's largest health board, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, with 1,840 such cases in the last five years.

Tory health spokesman Jackson Carlaw says while many such incidents would not have resulted in any harm to patients, the errors could damage public confidence in the NHS.

A total of 101.1 million items were prescribed  to patients in Scotland in 2014/15, a rise of 34.9% over the last decade - with the cost of prescriptions rising to almost 1.2 billion pounds last year.

Mr Carlaw says ''While so much of the focus recently has been on the cost of prescriptions, we must also recognise there's an issue with errors in prescribing.

I appreciate many of these will have resulted in no harm to the patient. But to see thousands of such incidents occurring in the last five years threatens the confidence patients and their relatives have in the NHS.''

The Conservative MSP warned there could also be a 'risk of serious harm occurring to the most vulnerable people' if they were given the wrong medication.

He added ''And with the free prescriptions bill ever rising, health boards can hardly afford the potentially hefty compensation bills associated with mistaken prescriptions.''