Medicines Safety in Scotland

It is the goal of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to ensure that the UK is the safest place to take medicine in the world. Pharmacists are uniquely qualified experts in medicine and therefore have an important role to play in this programme.

This year, the Scottish Pharmacy Board has established working groups, made up of experts from practice, government and other significant stakeholders, to specifically target three key areas: 

•  Improving Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting

•  Scottish Patient Safety Programme Integration

•  Pharmaceutical Care in Care Homes

This is an opportune time to be involved in such work to improve the quality of patient care outcomes, with specific work in the Scottish Patient Safety Programme to improve the safety of patients.

Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP) Working Group

The objective for this working group is to identify ways in which we can contribute to the work of the SPSP.  We also want to secure engagement and support from practitioners at all levels and in all settings.

This group is coordinating its work using the Society’s virtual network.

The remit of the working group is to:

  1. Demonstrate leadership for the profession by identifying ways of engaging and supporting pharmacy practitioners to ensure Pharmacy is integrated into all aspects of SPSP
  2. Engaging with the SPSP to gain a full understanding of the SPSP programme to facilitate the process and produce a set of recommendations to take forward in an integration plan.
  3. Developing a plan setting out objectives (strategic and operational) which will maximise the integration of pharmacy with SPSP.

Improving Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) Reporting

A study of two large hospitals in Scotland showed that 6.5% of admissions were judged to be due to an ADR, and most of these reactions were either definitely or possibly avoidable.  There is a need to improve the identification of previously unreported ADRs, and to quantify the frequency with which ADRs occur, in order to better understand and avoid further incidents.

The first meeting of this group will take place on Monday 21st February 2011.

The objectives of this Working Group are:

  1. Identify the reasons and causes for the current situation of under-reporting of adverse drug reactions across primary and secondary care.
  2. Work with CARDS, NES and the LPFs to identify practical solutions to aid the production of an ADR improvement plan which will improve feedback and encourage higher levels of reporting.
  3. Provide CPD to enable this process initially through the LPFs.
  4. Liaise and work closely with the SPSP to ensure this is achieved in an integrated way.

Improving Pharmaceutical Care in Care Homes (PCCH) Working Group

People in Care Homes are a particularly vulnerable group. Not only do they usually take many different types of medicines, but they are often quite dependent on their carers to ensure that those medicines are taken correctly and safely.

In recent years the extent of polypharmacy, the additional workload and admin of dispensing trays has lead to the growing realisation that a professional pharmacist is the best person to be delivering pharmaceutical care in this setting. We believe that it is now necessary to bring together the specialists in this area to develop an expert and cogent appraisal of how pharmaceutical care in this area should be developed and delivered.

This group’s first meeting took place on Tuesday 1st February and are aiming to produce recommendations to feed into the Scottish Government’s work in this area by autumn 2011.

The purpose of the PCCH Working Group is to:

  1. Assess the current initiatives in and approaches to pharmaceutical care of the frail elderly in care homes. 
  2. Charge the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scottish Directorate to undertake appropriate research to facilitate the group's work.
  3. Invite relevant stakeholders to advise or give evidence to improve the knowledge base and the policy options available to the group. 
  4. Identify areas where pharmaceutical care could be improved in care homes.
  5. Make recommendations for pharmacist delivered pharmaceutical care that could be emulated across Scotland based on evidence of best practice.
  6. Present its conclusions to the Scottish Pharmacy Board and undertake further work as identified by the SPB to promote and disseminate its work.