A standardised prescription system in Scotland is a must if patient safety is to be improved and the number of errors cut, a leading doctors' group has warned.
A study by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) found that variations in the ways charts are used mean that doctors, particularly those who move around hospitals, are more likely to make mistakes.
Varying standards could lead to accidental overdoses or use of inappropriate medicines, the RCPE warned, calling for the introduction of national prescribing chart similar to that implemented in Wales in 2004.
RCPE president, Neil Dewhurst, said: "Local variation in prescribing charts has existed for many years, but has not been addressed by successive governments and should now be given greater priority.
"Putting it simply, patients should expect a standardised system of prescribing regardless of which hospital in Scotland they are treated.
"It would therefore be logical to follow Wales's example by developing a national prescribing chart for Scotland initially and then to work towards a UK-wide prescribing chart for use across the whole of the NHS."