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Can junior doctors prescribe?
  1. A R Hart1,
  2. C L Brown2,
  3. S J Clark1
  1. 1
    Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2
    University of Sheffield Academic Unit of Child Health, Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  1. Dr Anthony Hart, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Jessop Wing, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Tree Root Walk, Sheffield, S10 2SF; t.hart{at}

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Prescribing skills are an essential aspect of doctors’ good medical practice1 and undergraduate medical training.2 Around 1.5% of prescriptions in UK hospitals are estimated to contain serious mistakes.3 We describe our observations of trainees’ prescribing skills, derived from an interview process for paediatric training posts in our area of the United Kingdom.

Applicants to ST1, 2, 3 and 4 training posts in paediatrics (approximately 3, 4, 5 and 6 years, respectively, after graduation) completed a drug chart as a part of the selection process. The clinical scenarios differed for each grade of applicant to reflect experience. Scenarios given to ST1 and ST3 applicants involved a previous adverse drug reaction clearly documented on the drug charts. Prescription charts …

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  • Funding: Dr Hart’s post is funded by a grant from the Jessop Baby Fund. The funding source had no involvement in study design, data collection, interpretation or decision to publish.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Following discussion with the South Sheffield Research and Ethics Committee, it was agreed these results reflected service evaluation and ethical approval was not required to report them.