Intended for healthcare professionals


A prescription for better prescribing

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 31 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:459

Complacency persists

The proposals for improved prescribing from Jeff Aronson and his
colleagues are reasonable and realistic. It is therefore disappointing
that Professor Rubin,himself a clinical pharmacologist, does not seem to
acknowledge that there is a significant problem to be addressed. Those of
us involved in teaching and clinical practice certainly perceived that the
first version of "Tomorrow's doctors" had a clearly negative effect on the
teaching of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, which barely got a
mention in that document, in comparison to the heavy emphasis on the
teaching of communication skills (which I have also taught for about 20
years). This was of course not the only reason but the 90s saw less
teaching of these topics, the closure of academic departments and a
massive reduction in formal assessment of the subject. To some extent
this is now being reversed but we are not starting from a very good
baseline. It is also worth strongly reinforcing the responses about the
importance of clinical pharmacists. If it were not for their interventions
the number of prescribing-related disasters would be far higher. they
really must be involved in any educational programme.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

12 September 2006
Michael Schachter
Senior lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology, Imperial College School of Medicine
St Mary's Hospital, W2 1NY