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Researchers from the universities of Oxford and Nottingham have found that despite substantial disruption to primary care services, the safety of GP prescribing in England was largely unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Patient speaking to a GP

The study, published in BMJ Medicine, is the most comprehensive assessment of medication safety during the Covid-19 pandemic in England, covering 95% of the population.

The research also demonstrates the power of analysing NHS GP data on a national scale to generate insights on service delivery.

The findings are based on the application of the 13 national PINCER prescribing safety indicators to the electronic health records of almost 57 million NHS patients in England between September 2019 and September 2021 using the OpenSAFELY platform, developed at the Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science in Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.

PINCER is an evidence-based, pharmacist-led complex intervention to identify and correct hazardous prescribing in primary care. PINCER was rolled out nationally to GP practices in England between 2018 and 2021 by PRIMIS at the University of Nottingham in collaboration with the Academic Health Science Network. PRIMIS is a specialist team of health informaticians within the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham providing expert advice on the intelligent use of primary care data to the NHS, academics, and industry partners.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website