Making Things Right When there's Been a Dispensing Error

Professional guidance

Professionalism and a culture of candour are vital for patient safety, this is why it is important that pharmacists report, learn, share, act and review instances when there has been dispensing errors or near misses. Pharmacy professionals report various reasons why they find it difficult to report and learn from mistakes. It is estimated that 20% of under reporting is because of fear of prosecution.

Legislation introducing new legal defences to prevent the automatic criminalisation of inadvertent dispensing errors “The Pharmacy (Preparation and Dispensing Errors – Registered Pharmacies) Order 2018” comes into force on the 16 th April 2018. It is expected this will reduce the risk of prosecution in the profession, leading to a professional increase in the reporting of dispensing errors, the learnings from which could prevent the same error occurring in the future. The sharing and review of data from dispensing error reporting will result in improvements to patient safety across the healthcare system.

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