and prescribing assessment tools





Why is prescribing so important?

Prescribing is an integral part of a General Practitioner’s work and several high profile cases have been published when qualified doctors have made catastrophic errors.   Because there are a large number of patient deaths relating to medication errors.   The only way this will improve is if we start regularly reviewing and analysing our prescribing habits.  The best way of looking at an identified need is to pause and reflect on what we are doing rather than bury our heads and just continuing as we are.  Would you agree?

We know GP trainees appear to assessed left-right-and centre.  But this is another important area where we can better ourselves.  Qualified GPs and their practices are often asked to look at their prescribing habits in some way or another and we feel therefore trainees should too.

So, it's an official MRCGP assessment?

Yes.    All trainees who start ST3 in August 2019 will need to complete a prescribing assessment by 31 January 2020.   It can replace 2 Case Based Discussions in the ST3 year – so the total CBDs required in ST3 will be 10 not 12!  All other trainees are, of course, welcome to use the assessment as appropriate to their learning needs.

There is no set standard as it is designed as a learning exercise; however if no errors are highlighted and if no learning is identified this would raise concerns, as to date this has never been the case.

How will it work?

  • The trainee does a computer search on their last 60 retrospective prescriptions from a set date
  • Using the prescribing manual, the trainee reviews these prescriptions & maps them against potential prescribing errors in the spreadsheet provided. Any issues are highlighted and investigated for possible causes and methods of avoidance suggested.
  • The GP trainer / Supervisor reviews 20 of these prescriptions (including those where the trainee has NOT identified errors), and maps these against potential errors and adds these to the spreadsheet
  • The trainee completes the trainee reflection form in the ePortfolio and in particular reflects on their prescribing using the GP prescribing proficiencies. GP trainee and their Clinical Supervisor/Trainer have a tutorial about it. Trainee creates PDP entries where appropriate.
  • The trainee and GP trainer / Supervisor complete the assessment using the GP trainer/ Supervisor assessment form found in the ePortfolio
  • Both the trainee and GP trainer / Supervisor complete and submit the questionnaires
  • The trainee uploads the ANONYMISED spreadsheet to their learning log

For the official MRCGP prescribing tools  and supporting documents to help you, see the resource items under the QUICKLINKS section at the top of the page.  They are reproduced below for your convenience.

Please leave a comment if you have a tip, spot an error, spot something missing or have a suggestion for a web resource.
And of course, if you have developed a resource of your own, please email it to me to share with others.

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