Recent reports have warned that many patients are being prescribed unnecessary treatments and that there are instances of overprescribing medication. The report warns that some of the treatments may even be harmful to patients. This review also suggests one-tenth of items dispensed by primary care are inappropriate or could be changed. Because of this, the government is appointing an expert to help with the issue and stop waste.

The report recommends improved patient records and handovers between hospitals and GP surgeries, amongst other things.

The chair of the Royal College of GPs said: “Prescribing is a core skill for GPs and many of our nurse and pharmacist colleagues in primary care and doing whatever we can to prescribe the most appropriate medicine for our patients, in an evidence-based way is something we strive to do daily – and in the vast majority of cases, this review shows this is happening.

“With our growing and ageing population, with more patients living with multiple, chronic conditions, many people are taking several medications to manage their various health illnesses. The interaction between various medicines is something prescribers will consider.

“In most cases, these medicines are necessary, appropriate and of benefit for the patient – but the aspiration to reduce the number of medications a patient is taking, where safe and possible, is a good one. GPs will only ever prescribe medication to patients in conversation with them, and after a frank discussion about the risks and benefits of the treatment – and when they have explored alternative options.

“What GPs and other members of the practice team often need, however, is better access for their patients to alternative, non-pharmacological treatments, which can be patchy across the country.”

overprescribing medication

GP Negligence and Overprescribing Medication

The number of items dispensed by GPs and other primary care providers has doubled in recent years, from an average of 10 per person in 1996 to around 20 per person now, according to the report.

Repeat prescriptions make up around three-quarters of all prescription items.

Adverse effects of medications causes around 6.5% of hospital admissions. This rises to up to 20% in the over-65 age group.

Overprescribing medication can happen when:

  • A better alternative is available but not given
  • The medicine is appropriate for a condition but not the individual patient
  • A condition changes and the medicine is no longer appropriate
  • The patient no longer needs the medicine but a GP continues to prescribe it

If a GP has overprescribed medication to you or a loved one then you may be able to make a medical negligence claim. This is especially true if it causes your condition to get worse, or makes your recovery period longer,

How We Can Help

Here at The Medical Negligence Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with medical negligence claims. This includes instances of overprescribing medication. Contact us by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138761 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable agents.