GPs are being told to review thousands of patients who have been prescribed statins or not given the drugs after a computer glitch was discovered in a tool used to assess heart disease risk.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has told practices that an “issue” with the QRISK2 Calculator in SystmOne, run by The Phoenix Partnership (TPP), “has resulted in incorrect results for some patients”.
MHRA estimates that 35% of practices could have been affected by the bug since 2009.
GPs have been told to stop using the QRISK2 Calculator option if they run TPP until further notice.
The calculator helps to assess patients’ potential risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
An MHRA spokeswoman said: “This issue has resulted in incorrect results being produced for a proportion of patients.”
GPs have been warned that the potential risk of CVD could have been under or overstated in affected patients.
MHRA said the risk to individual patients was small and affects a limited number of patients.
It advised practices to re-evaluated patients at their next routine appointment.
TPP, the IT company that makes the software is contacting practices directly to inform them of any patients who may be affected.
It is working with the MHRA to ensure the issue is resolved and identify any affected patients.
The bug was initially reported to the Health and Social Care Information Centre by TPP.
The MHRA was contacted on April 26 and wrote to GP practices yesterday (May 11).
TPP said: “We are dealing with the issue involving the QRISK2 Calculator in SystmOne. The tool is intended to support GPs in assessing patients at risk of developing cardiovascular disease and in developing treatment plans.”
MHRA said the problem only affects TPP.
If necessary, practices could use the QRISK2-2016 calculator on the www.qrisk.orgsite that is not affected by the issue.