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Last Updated: Friday, 25 April, 2003, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Patients can report adverse reactions
Some drugs can cause adverse reactions
Patients who suffer adverse reactions to drugs will be able to report the problem to the NHS Direct helpline.

It will be the first time that the public has been able to report their own experiences of adverse drug reactions.

Until now, it has been down to health professionals to record problems suffered by their patients.

Health Minister David Lammy announced on Friday that a pilot project would be set up at the NHS Direct call centre in Beckenham, which covers South East London.

If the pilot proves successful, the scheme will be rolled out to all 22 NHS Direct call centres in England.

patients can quickly access advice and report reactions that can help to improve our knowledge of the safe use of medicines
David Lammy
Mr Lammy said: "Rather than having to go to a GP, patients can quickly access advice and report reactions that can help to improve our knowledge of the safe use of medicines."

At present, adverse drug reactions are reported to the Committee on the Safety of Medicines (CSM) by health professionals under what is known as the Yellow Card scheme.

The CSM is an independent committee of experts that advises government on the safety, quality and effectiveness of medicines

But although this scheme has been running for 40 years, it was only extended to all nurses from last October.

In addition, an electronic version was made available on a website run by the new Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Chrys Short, nursing director for NHS Direct South East London said: Patient reporting via NHS Direct will offer an important step in involving patients in monitoring drug safety with the support of our trained staff.

"We will be able to offer advice to deal with the problems a patient is experiencing as well as completing the Electronic Yellow Card to be sent to the MHRA."

GPs fail to report drug problems
01 Dec 01  |  Health

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