Medical errors are a major problem in the UK and in other countries. Apart from the direct cost to the healthcare system, there are great personal costs to those involved including patients, their families and staff together with undermining of public confidence. As such, policy initiatives have been implemented to reduce them. The most common type of medical errors is thought to be medication errors, with the majority of studies conducted in adults. However, recent evidence highlights that medication errors are also a significant problem in the paediatric population. This paper reviews the factors contributing to paediatric medication errors such as lack of appropriate paediatric formulations, communication issues between health professionals, dose calculation and inadequate clinical practice. This review will also discuss risk reduction strategies such as Electronic Prescribing (EP) or Computerised Physician Orders Entry (CPOE), systems which can significantly reduce paediatric medication errors in conjunction with pharmacist monitoring, improved communication and environments which promote best practice.
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