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Medication safety

Pharmacists should manage medicines during transitions of care to improve medicines safety, NHS Improvement proposes

A nominated pharmacist should be designated to manage medicines during patient transitions between all settings, NHS Improvement has proposed as part of a consultation on medicines safety.

The medicines safety programme, which is due to be launched in April 2019, will revolve around six “headline issues” including: anticoagulants; drug administration; medicines safety in care homes; older people; shared decision making; and transitions of care. On 18 December 2018, NHS Improvement launched a survey on its suggestions for making improvements in safety across these six areas. 

For medicines safety in care homes, its suggestions include undertaking regular medicines reviews to address problematic polypharmacy and optimising medicines use, and encouraging better use of technology. For drug administration the proposals suggest encouraging ready-to-use injectables where appropriate; and for anticoagulants it suggests having a unified approach to their safe monitoring across all health settings and in patient’s homes.

It also suggests that, to improve medicines safety in transitions of care there should be a “single universal system of medication records which can be updated and read across all settings”. 

The national Medicines Safety Programme has been launched as a contribution towards the third World Health Organization Global Patient Safety Challenge — Medication without Harm, which aims to reduce severe and avoidable harm caused by medicines by 50%.

The survey will close on 13 January 2019.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205938

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