Patient Safety Programme in Scotland

By Annamarie McGregor, Professional Support Pharmacist for the RPS in Scotland

As part of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s commitment to medicines safety, the Local Practice Forums in Scotland have each been looking at specific elements of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (SPSP).  The discussion held at RPS on the 7th December linked in with the current work programme of the Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the implementation plans of their Strategic Plan in Secondary care. The ways in which this can be rolled out in Primary Care was a great incentive for all sectors of the Scottish pharmacy profession to come together and get involved in this debate.

As part of the discussions,  pharmacists from secondary and primary care looked at couple of high risk drugs such as Methotrexate and Lithium as well as  the new draft Chronic Medication Service guidelines. The evaluation has been positive and the vast majority of attendees learned something at the event and committed to changing their practice as a result.

My personal actions after attending the events are to encourage all those people taking lithium to register for the Electronic Minor Ailments Service (eMAS) and I will speak to counter staff about the importance of checking for other medicines when selling.  I hadn’t realised just how dangerous the lithium/NSAID ibuprofen interaction is. I learned that in England between 1995 and 2004 there were 16 recorded cases (2 fatal, 12 severe harm) resulting in claims of over £2million made to the clinical negligence scheme directly attributed to lithium treatment.

I also think it is important that community pharmacists are more embedded in the Medicines Reconciliation process and should be included in the communication at discharge in order to make this safer and risk free process for patients. RPS will be lobbying for this and I would encourage anyone involved in Medicines Reconciliation to do as much as they can to support this.

We would like to thank all those who got involved in donating their time so freely to help the LPFs deliver these events and the Fellows and contributors involved in the SPSP programme to date. Let me know if you would like copies of the presentations.