Written by

Bilal Qasim - Associate, Senior Solicitor

“Medication errors are any Patient Safety Incidents (PSI) where there has been an error in the process of prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring medicines.” Between April 2015 and March 2020, NHS Resolution received 1,420 claims relating to errors in the medication process. In this article, we will be discussing the different types of medication errors that can occur and how you can claim if the errors were due to medical negligence.


What is a Patient Safety Incident? 

According to the NHS “Patient safety incidents are any unintended or unexpected incident which could have, or did, lead to harm for one or more patients receiving healthcare.” These incidents can arise from various different factors such as errors in diagnosis, medication administration, surgical procedures and communication errors. 


Medication errors 

There are different types of medication errors that can occur and these are any patient safety incidents where there have been errors in the process of prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, administering and monitoring medicines. For example, you may have received the wrong medicine or the wrong dose of medication and as a result of this you have been harmed or injured. 

Examples of medication errors can include: 

  • Incorrect mixing of a prescription medication 
  • Dispensing the wrong prescribed medication 
  • Dispensing an incorrect dose of a prescribed medication 
  • Incorrect labelling of a prescription 
  • Providing the wrong instructions on the use of prescribed medication 

Medication errors can be caused in pharmacies, hospitals, dentists, doctors surgeries or any other medical practice and they can have devastating effects for patients. 

Causes of medication errors 

There are many different types of medication errors, and because of this, the cause may vary depending on the situation. In some cases, medication errors can occur if medical professionals have breached their duty of care, and as a result of this, you may have experienced avoidable harm due to the medication error. However, it is important to note that not all medication errors are due to medical negligence. 

According to the World Health Organisation, medication errors occur due to weak medication systems or human factors such as: 

  • Fatigue
  • Poor environmental conditions 
  • Staff shortages 

These factors could potentially cause medication errors which could cause harm to patients. 


Implications of medication errors

If there has been an error when prescribing, transcribing, administering or monitoring medication, it can potentially result in severe harm, disability or even death. Mistakes with medications can be extremely serious and patients can receive a range of side effects and problems from taking the wrong medication. Taking the wrong medication can be extremely dangerous, but if you have been prescribed the wrong medicine, it may also mean that you are not receiving and taking the correct medication which was originally prescribed to help your symptoms. This means that as you’re not taking the medication, your condition will likely be getting worse and not better. 

Medication errors can have significant health impacts, however there can also be financial implications for patients that have been on the receiving end of a medication error. There could be increased healthcare costs, such as having to pay for more medication due to the error, or if you have had to take time off work due to illness from medication errors, this can have significant financial implications for patients.


Medication error claims

According to the NHS, there are an estimated 237 million medication errors that occur in England every year, out of these, 66 million are clinically significant. Medication errors can have serious consequences for patients including health implications and financial and mental wellbeing implications. 

If you have suffered due to a medication error and you believe that it was caused by medical negligence, you may be able to claim for medical negligence. Get in touch with one of our experts today and they will be able to guide you through your claims process on a no win no fee basis.

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