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Medication Safety

A set of prescribing indicators have been developed as part of a programme of work to reduce medication error and promote safer use of medicines, including prescribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring. The programme of work is in response to the World Health Organisation (WHO) global challenge – Medication Without Harm. More information can be found in the report of the Short Life Working Group

The analysis is an experimental piece of work.  This is the first time prescribing data has been linked to admissions data at a national level.

The purpose of the indicators is to identify hospital admissions that may be associated with prescribing that potentially increases the risk of harm, and to quantify patients at potentially increased risk.   

The aim of the indicators is to:

  • support local reviews of prescribing, alongside other risk factors for potential harm
  • minimise the use of medicines that are unnecessary and where harm may outweigh benefits
  • identify where the risk of harm can be reduced or mitigated including prescribing of alternative medicines or medicines that mitigate risk e.g. gastro-protective agents 
  • reduce the number of hospital admissions that may be associated with medicines
  • reduce the number of patients that are potentially at increased risk of hospital admission that may be associated with medicines.

Where an admission has been recorded that is linked to a patient currently taking medicines that may increase the risk of harm it is still possible that the cause of admission (e.g. GI Bleed, AKI) may be due to other external factors. The analysis only highlights the potential risk of harm and possible association with hospital admission. Any review of benefits and risks of prescribing should be undertaken on an individual patient basis.

Further information can be found on the GOV.UK website

View the Medication Safety indicators Specification (PDF: 696 KB)

If you're registered, you can access the ‘Medication Safety’ dashboard via ePACT2.

If you are not registered for ePACT2 you can view the indicators in the Medicines Optimisation Dashboard