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a pills image cbFebruary 27 2018

The community pharmacy group involved in analysing dispensing errors and promoting patient safety says it will look at how to share best practice more effectively.

A statement issued by the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group says it is “committed to supporting healthcare leaders” with the activities set out by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt around medication errors. “We will seek to share best practice in embedding the Report, Learn, Share, Act, Review principles with our counterparts in primary and secondary care, to maximise what is learned from patient safety incidents and reduce overall avoidable harm to patients.”

The CPPSG is hosted by the Company Chemists Association, representing large pharmacy multiples, but works with the National Pharmacy Association and other bodies to share learning about dispensing and medication errors. It has been “leading a sector-wide effort to advance patient safety culture and improve practice across the community pharmacy sector, including by increasing the reporting of patient safety incidents and enhancing the learning opportunities available when things go wrong.”

Janice Perkins, Chair of the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group and pharmacy superintendent for Bestway National Chemists Ltd (better known as Well Pharmacy), said the reports into medication errors “re-enforce the importance that every part of the health and care system must place in working collaboratively, learning from when things go wrong, and taking action to reduce risks to patients.

“Community pharmacists and their teams play a vital role in preventing medication errors, intervening on prescriptions and minimising risks to patients every day. As experts in medicines, pharmacists act as an essential safety barrier, ideally placed to help prevent issues with prescribed medicines from reaching patients.”

Ms Perkins referred to research conducted by Pharmacy Voice in 2015 which indicated that an estimated 5-10% of the interventions on prescriptions made by pharmacists prevent moderate or severe harm, or death, from being caused. She said that closer working between general practice and pharmacy teams would lead to improvements in overall patient care. 

“The sharing of best practice and learning from errors can help to reduce their re-occurrence in the future and the Report, Learn, Share, Act, Review principles should be embedded throughout care settings.”

Ms Perkins has also called for further work on looking at how systems can be improved, such as information transfer, both between health professionals and patients, but also between different care settings.

“Discharge medication reviews taking place in community pharmacies, and community pharmacy read/write access to the GP patient record would be significant enablers in this regard. Pharmacist-led clinical medication reviews help to improve safety and monitoring, and we should seek to ensure these are accessible to patients via the community pharmacy network,” she said.

“We would also welcome efforts from the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that patients are better equipped and empowered to understand their medicines.”

Tess Fenn, President of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK), said patient safety is paramount and is at the heart of APTUK and the pharmacy profession. “Pharmacy technicians as part of the pharmacy team have a vital role to play in preventing medication errors, through intervention and safe practice. Our role contributes to minimising the risk to patients every day across all care settings and sectors of the profession.”

APTUK is “committed to enhancing patient safety culture through promoting quality systems in all of the services provided to patients,” she added.

The Association has published ‘Professional standards for the reporting, learning, sharing, taking action and review of incidents’ that have been jointly developed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and the Pharmacy Forum of Northern Ireland. “The standards aim to provide guidance to support the pharmacy team in engaging and being proactive in improving patient safety by sharing and learning from all incidents including dispensing errors,” she said.

Links:
CCA statement
APTUK statement        
Today’s Pharmacist coverage of medications errors announcement       

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