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So much for my ‘getting away from it all’ lunch break

Home visit done in record time, I sped off to the local bureau de change to collect foreign currency for an upcoming holiday. Money changed, and thinking I’d make the most of my (brief) break-out, I settled into a comfy chair having grabbed a paper, coffee and panini from the café. 

I didn’t get far into the paper before spying the headline, ‘ERRORS IN ONE IN 20 PRESCRIPTIONS’. Sigh.

It appears us underworked, lazy, overpaid GPs have reached a new height in incompetence after a report discovered that some 5% of our prescriptions contain errors.

So much for my ‘getting away from it all’ lunch break.

It turns out that last week's GMC-commissioned research reveals that one in every 550 prescriptions contains a serious error. The BBC website seems to rejoice in pronouncing the researchers’ conclusion that GPs ‘need more training’, alongside the suggestion that consultation times should be longer. Already a flurry of readers had written in to share their experiences of GPs’ poor prescribing.

I appreciate that our golden rule is ‘first do no harm’, and anything that increases patient safety is a good thing.

But I found myself doing a quick sum in the margins of the newspaper to turn it on its head.

If one in 550 prescriptions contain a serious error, that means that we’re doing good 99.82% of the time.

That’s actually not bad odds.  Not many other professions can declare 99.82% competency.

I relaxed back into the armchair, and decided that perhaps I would follow my panini with a pastry after all…

Julie Fry is a GPST2 in Cheltenham.