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The company behind the “heart attack risk calculator” have said that a fault in the software means that some patients were incorrectly prescribed statins, whilst others who needed them didn’t receive them.

Around one in three GP surgeries use the software, created by TPP, which takes into account blood pressure, weight, health problems and family history to decide if the patient has more than a 10 per cent change of suffering with cardiovascular disease, in the next decade.

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have issued a warning about the system’s failings to 2,500 GP practices across the country, and have advised them to stop using the software until the faults are fixed.

The problems may have affected patients assessed for heart disease over the past seven years.

The regulator has said that only a “limited” number of patients will be affected, and that no one should come off their medication without speaking with their doctor first.

However, some GPs have told Pulse magazine that they have been sent lists of around 20 patients who should either be put onto statins or taken off them, because of the systems miscalculations.

The tool is no longer available for use and TPP said they responded immediately when issues arose.

TPP currently have several ongoing negotiations for future contracts with various NHS organisations.

In light of the mistakes, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has ordered a pause on all negotiations for future contracts with TPP until the investigation has been completed.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “MHRA is working closely with the company responsible to resolve the incident and any new contracts being negotiated with that company are under review.”

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