Prescribing and administration errors are common,22 but harm is usually avoided by colleagues intervening before the errors can affect patients.
See the EQUIP (Errors – Questioning Undergraduate Impact on Prescribing) study regarding inappropriate delegation of responsibility for writing up discharge summaries to junior staff with insufficient pharmacology training or knowledge of patients.
You must protect patients from risks of harm posed by colleagues’ prescribing, administration and other medicine-related errors. You should question any decision or action that you consider may be unsafe.23 You should also respond constructively to concerns raised by colleagues, patients and carers about your own practice.
You should make patient safety your first priority and raise concerns if the service or system you are working in does not have adequate safeguards, which are relevant to the nature and mode of the consultation. This includes appropriate identity and verification checks.24 You should not prescribe unless it is safe to do so.
NHS Digital has published ‘The Identity and Verification standard for Digital Health and Care Services’ (2018). For primary care providers, see guidance issued by NHS England and NHS Improvement Digital First Primary Care Team. For guidance on safe and appropriate online and remote provision of sexual health services please refer to Faculty of Reproductive Sexual Health (FRSH) and British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) Standards for Online and Remote Providers of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services.