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Why GPs must report adverse reactions

I refer to your report 'Snowed-under GPs too busy for drug reaction reports', January 20).

The GMC suggests one of the responsibilities of a doctor is to report suspected adverse drug reactions. It can be argued that this is not unpaid work, as suggested by Dr Peter Fellows, chair of the GPC prescribing sub-committee, but one of the core activities of general practice.

We do not ask for an item-of-service payment for other core activities, for example making hospital referrals, and we should not expect to be paid for the ocassional reporting of ADRs. Osler felt the first duty of the doctor was to do no harm. If we are not thoughtful and reflective prescribers we risk doing great harm to our patients.

Being alert to possible adverse drug reactions and reporting those we suspect will be immediately beneficial to our patients and help identify previously unsuspected problems.

I agree that better GP education is needed. As reporting of ADRs is an educational activity, a copy of any report should be filed in the personal development plan. A starting point could be to remind GPs that yellow forms are printed in the back of the BNF.

Dr Patrick M Craig-McFeely

West Liss, Hampshire

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