The HSE has written to all GPs outlining their levels of benzodiazepine and other hypnotics GMS prescribing in a new initiative to encourage better quality prescribing of these drugs.
GPs will receive individualised and confidential reports every three months. The first reports were issued in early February, and are based on prescriptions dispensed in November 2011.
The reports, which are compiled from PCRS data on the number of benzodiazepine and hypnotics prescriptions dispensed by pharmacists, will allow GPs to see exactly how many times they have prescribed these drugs in the preceding months.
The information is further broken into categories such as patient age and GMS cover. Speaking to the Medical Independent (MI), Dr Joe Clarke, HSE Primary Care Clinical Lead said the initiative provides an opportunity for GPs to examine their individual prescribing habits. The reaction to the initiative overall has been “very positive”, he said.
GPs will also be able to identify patients who have been on benzodiazepines for longer than six to eight weeks.
Due to the challenges associated with long-term use, Dr Clarke said that GPs are encouraged to look at their prescribing for this group of patients in particular.
Dr Ide Delargy, Director of Substance Misuse with the ICGP said the College is supportive of the initiative.
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