How well are general practice trainees prepared for paediatric prescribing?

N. M. Isa, Michael William Taylor, Peter Joseph Benedict Helms, James Stuart McLay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)



center dot Children make up a significant proportion of a general practitioner's (GP's) prescribing workload.

center dot The realisation that children cannot be assumed to be little adults and may require specialized prescribing and therapeutic knowledge is relatively recent.

center dot Off-label medicines, which have been associated with an increased frequency of adverse drug reactions, are commonly prescribed by GPs to children.


center dot The majority of GP trainees believe that their undergraduate and postgraduate training in paediatric therapeutics is insufficient for their coming requirements in primary care.

center dot Approximately one-third of GP trainees do not undertake any paediatrics training prior to starting work as a GP.

center dot Off-label and unlicensed prescribing are the most poorly covered areas of paediatric therapeutics in universities/university hospitals.

center dot Those trainees who do undergo paediatric training during their vocational years report increased paediatric prescribing confidence.

We invited 232 General Practice Trainees to complete an on-line questionnaire to assess how they rated their training for the task of paediatric prescribing and therapeutics in the community.

Of the 166 (71%) respondents who completed the questionnaire, 26.5% recalled specific teaching about paediatric prescribing and 59.6% covering one or more relevant topic during their undergraduate years. Undertaking a paediatric post during vocational training was associated with greater prescribing confidence (P < 0.001); however, 35% of respondents were not intending to undertake such a post.

This study suggests that many GP trainees perceive their paediatric prescribing training as inadequate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-373
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number3
Early online date24 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • primary care
  • general practice vocational training
  • education
  • paediatrics
  • prescribing
  • adverse drug-reactions
  • label
  • attitudes
  • children
  • experiences
  • medicines


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