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Prescribing and patient safety research

Prescribing, whether by doctors or by non-medical prescribers, is the most common intervention provided to patients within the NHS.

Much of the psychosocial research into the prescribing process has been conducted in primary care with general practitioners.

Within secondary care, however, most prescribing is undertaken by the least experienced doctors (particularly those within the first two years after graduation).

In addition, non-medical prescribers (particularly nurses and pharmacists) are caring for increasing numbers of patients.

We are an experienced team of researchers using both qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the process and outcomes (in terms of whether it is appropriate and error-free) of prescribing by new and novice prescribers.

Our research on the prevalence and cause of prescribing errors informs how we can reduce prescribing errors and hence improve prescribing safety.

Such interventions can target both the individual prescriber and the systems within which they work.

Current research interests include:

  • assessing the appropriateness of prescribing;
  • the causes of prescribing errors;
  • behavioural change to reduce prescribing errors;
  • system redesign to reduce prescribing errors;
  • the impact of teaching and learning about prescribing;
  • the integration and impact of non-medical prescribers;
  • decision-making by non-medical prescribers;
  • the outcomes associated with non-medical prescribing.