UKCPA launches emergency care group
Pharmacists can contribute to keeping patients out of hospital and preventing inappropriate admissions, Nicola Wake, lead pharmacist, medicine, told delegates at the launch of the UKCPA emergency care practice interest group. The launch took place at the UK Clinical Pharmacy Association spring symposium held in Birmingham last weekend.
Over the past 18 months, pharmacists with an interest in emergency care have been able to share their experiences through an electronic newsgroup. This has attracted over 30 participants and identified common areas of clinical interest, such as rapid tranquillisation policies, analgesia protocols and outpatient deep vein thrombosis management. Organisational issues, including the use of pharmacy technicians in accident and emergency and medical admissions units, have also been topics for discussion.
The “Reforming emergency care” programme, launched by the Department of Health in 2001, called for simpler, more streamlined access to emergency services, including more primary care based services for minor complaints. Mrs Wake pointed out that emergency care is delivered in a wide range of settings including medical and surgical admissions units, clinical decision units, minor injuries units, walk-in centres, NHS Direct, by the Territorial Army and by ambulance teams, in addition to primary care and A&E units. A key objective for emergency care services is to improve access to treatment for patients, she added — which is an area in which pharmacists can contribute.
The new group will be led by a steering group of nine pharmacists, chaired by Mrs Wake. Plans are already in hand for a series of workshops at the November UKCPA symposium. Topics will include adverse drug events that cause hospital admissions, A&E pharmacy services and ways to keep patients out of hospital. “This group is about pharmacists and technicians working together so that people are not developing services in isolation,” said Mrs Wake.
Pharmacists who wish to join the emergency care practice interest group should contact Mrs Wake (Nicola.firstname.lastname@example.org).
New UKCPA chairman Helena Hodges, Royal United Hospital, Bath, was elected chairman of the UKCPA on 8 May. She takes over from Philip Howard, St James’s University Hospital, Leeds, who has been chairman for the past three years. Under new organisational arrangements, Ms Hodges will serve for one year.