Medication errors occur in health care systems worldwide and it is important that we learn from them.
Medication errors are defined as any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional or patient. Medication errors may be related to professional practice, drug products, procedures or systems. When a medication related error occurs, whether patient harm results or not, the error should be investigated and changes made to prevent similar mistakes.
One method to prevent errors is to introduce a standardised process for responding to alert notifications. An example of this is the removal of concentrated potassium chloride ampoules from ward areas to prevent the accidental selection and injection of undiluted potassium chloride causing patients to arrest.
The alerts produced by the Commission are recommendations relating to either internationally recognised or locally identified high risk medicines or situations. Alerts are sent out directly to relevant health care providers with the latest information and advice on particular topics of concern.
The Commission recognises the important role patients play in preventing medication-related errors and, whenever possible, includes recommendations on patient information leaflets and ways in which people can be involved in their treatment.
If you would like to receive Medication Safety Alerts please subscribe using our web form.