Medication errors too common in child inpatients

Both prescribing and medication errors are common in paediatric inpatients in the UK according to a recent study.

It is therefore important to develop strategies to reduce paediatric medication errors and future research should concentrate on this.

The researchers looked at drug errors in five hospitals in London and found that about 13.2% of the medication orders written contained an error and that medication administration errors were even more common. The error rate could be higher than in adults.

A small number of the errors detected were potentially fatal although most were unlikely to cause serious harm. The wards studied included some in a specialist children’s hospital as well as some in teaching and non-teaching general hospitals. The error rates varied widely between settings and the data do not reveal why this should be so.