Medicines Safety

medicines safety

Patient safety and the role of pharmaceutical care

Medicines are a crucial part of modern health care but they have great potential to cause harm as well as good.

The challenge of improving medication safety is significant.  Each day around 2.5 million prescriptions are issued in the NHS and around 60,000 medication safety incidents are reported to the National Patient Safety Agency each year across Great Britain.

Getting it right first time is crucial.  As well as reducing harm; improving medicines safety will benefit patients, health professionals and the NHS in the use of its scarce resources.

Against this background and in order to help make Britain a safer place to take medicines, the Welsh Pharmacy Board held a medicines safety symposium in October 2010.

The symposium

This event was held in association with 1000 Lives Plus and Public Health Wales.  It focused on the role pharmacists are able to play in improving patient safety, provided examples of innovative practice, and explored areas where improvements are needed and where barriers need to be overcome.

Key note presentations were made by Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, (Chair, Public Health Wales) Dr Alan Willson, (Director, 1000 Lives Plus) Jonathan Simms (Clinical Director of Pharmacy, Aneurin Bevan Health Board) and Andrew Cottom (CEO Powys Teaching Health Board) who focused on the importance of health literacy, adherence, access to the latest evidence and the key issues for the NHS in improving medicines and patient safety.

Other key senior figures from the NHS in Wales and the private sector also presented at the event, highlighting where good practice is already taking place.  It was also an opportunity to explore the tools that can be used to help improve medicines safety.

Three workshops took place to look at:

  • Pharmacist interventions to reduce harm from medicines
  • Reducing harm from medicines through better health literacy
  • Safer prescribing practice and getting things right the first time in the medicines process.


The reports

For a snap shot of the day, view the executive summary here.

Members can also view a breakdown of the entire day, as well as the full report in detail.

If you're not a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society but would like to know more about the Medicines Safety Symposium or read the report in full, you can email us or call the Welsh Office on 029 2073 0310

The Symposium

executive summary

For a snap shot of the day, view the executive summary here