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Patient safety

Refer-to-pharmacy scheme wins HSJ patient safety award

The refer-to-pharmacy scheme being implemented

Source: East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

The electronic referral system enables the most vulnerable patients to get help with their medicines after they are discharged from hospital

An electronic referral system that allows hospital patients to be referred to their community pharmacist when they are discharged from hospital has won a Health Service Journal patient safety award.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust won the best emerging technology and IT award for its ‘refer-to-pharmacy’ service. The service allows some of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients – mainly older people whose medication has changed in hospital – to benefit more easily from community pharmacy expertise.

“Integrating hospital pharmacy with the community pharmacy is often the missing link in effective discharge planning,” said the HSJ judges. “This is a low-cost, easy to use solution that improves patient safety.”

Alistair Grey

Alistair Gray, clinical services lead pharmacist at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which has developed the refer-to-pharmacy scheme, accepted the award on 5 July 2016

Alistair Gray, clinical services lead pharmacist at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, was presented with the award at a ceremony held in Manchester on 5 July 2016.

“Refer-to-pharmacy being awarded the patient safety award for best emerging technology and IT is brilliant as it recognises the work over the past three years that has gone into creating a software application that makes it incredibly easy to refer every eligible hospital patient to their community pharmacist for post-discharge help with their medicines,” says Gray.

“It also recognises the dedication of the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s pharmacy team for embracing the change in working practice to make referral part of their daily routine (we are currently up to around 40 referrals per day and rising), and to the community pharmacists in Pennine Lancashire who are receiving and managing our referrals (around 2,000 patients so far this year).”

Gray adds that there already a reduction in hospital readmissions within the trust, with around 70 fewer patients readmitted in the first four months of 2016.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201403

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