Almost half of GP practices in England are expected to adopt a pharmacist-led initiative that helps to reduce medication errors in general practice prescribing by next year.

The NHS Patient Safety Strategy, published on Tuesday (2 July), said that the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) will support national rollout of this initiative to general practice.

Known as PINCER – short for pharmacist-led information technology intervention for reducing clinically important errors – the initiative involves pharmacists and pharmacy technicians working in GP practices.

The pharmacists use software to search a GP practice’ computer system to identify patients who are at risk from their prescribed medication.

According to the NHS Patient Safety Strategy, this approach will ‘support work to reduce prescribing error rates by 50%, improving safety and reducing costs’.

The AHSN Network told Healthcare Leader that, as of the end of March 2019, 628 GP practices in England had adopted PINCER.

A spokesperson from the AHSN Network said that ‘in March 2018, the figure was just 50 practices – marking an increase of 1,156% in the first 12 months of the AHSN Network national adoption and spread programme funded by NHS England’.

AHSN Network national medicines optimisation clinical director Clare Howard told Healthcare Leader: ‘The national scale up of the PINCER intervention to GP practices is a challenging ambition, but the programme is progressing well and 11 AHSNs across the country are now at rollout stage and as of 1 April 2019 more than 700 practices have received training and support and are actively using the new system for direct data extractions.’