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Editor’s choice

Pills, pills, pills

  • By: Isobel Weinberg
  • Published: 18 October 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e6523
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e6523

How good is your prescribing? Not very good at all, if statistics are to be believed. Junior doctors make nearly a fifth of prescribing errors; just 35% of medical students have filled in a drug chart more than three times before qualifying. The blame is being laid at the feet of inconsistent and inadequate clinical pharmacology teaching in medical schools. One pharmacology professor described teaching in French medical schools as “insufficient, uncoordinated, and likely to get worse.” (p 10)

The British Pharmacological Society and the Medical Schools Council have proposed a solution: a UK prescribing exam which all medical graduates would have to sit in their final year to qualify. By asking students to answer practical questions based on real life prescribing scenarios, the test aims to prevent underqualified graduates slipping through the net. Pilots have gone well; the test will be optional this academic year and may be compulsory

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