Empowering Safe Prescribing: A Journey in Medicines Reconciliation Using a Multidisciplinary Approach

Published: 21 Sep 2023
By Dr Stefanie Lip,Dr Linsay McCallum

In the NHS, where delivery of healthcare is constantly evolving, there is a need to move to online electronic platforms for most tasks. In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, medicines reconciliation is done electronically, however we noted the completion rate was low. To improve this, a dedicated group of clinical pharmacologists and junior doctors embarked on a mission to enhance awareness of medicines reconciliation and emphasise the importance of prescribing safety. What began as a modest initiative quickly snowballed into a groundbreaking project to empower safe prescribing locally.

A Humble Beginning

Our journey began with a small-scale effort aimed at educating junior doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals on the critical importance of prescribing medicines safely, with medicines reconciliation as a focal point. Local teaching sessions served as the foundation of our endeavours, offering a platform to impart knowledge and share experiences.

Building Momentum

As the project gained traction, we realised the need to expand our horizons. It was clear that a multidisciplinary approach was necessary to drive lasting change. Thus, our team grew to include consultants, junior doctors, pharmacists, specialist nurses, and advanced nurse practitioners. Together, we developed an educational programme that highlighted various aspects of prescribing safety, all while emphasising the significance of medicines reconciliation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this was moved online.

Sharing Knowledge, Reducing Medication Errors

One of our key initiatives was the creation of learning summaries on recent medication incidents. These summaries were widely circulated in the Junior Doctors Medicine Bulletin, ensuring that this reached a broad audience. Our goal was to foster a culture of transparency, where errors could be learned from in order to prevent repetition in the future.

Expanding Horizons

Inspired by our progress, we launched the Clinical Pharmacology and Medicines Safety Month, a campaign aimed at increasing awareness of clinical pharmacology as a specialty and empowering healthcare professionals to improve prescribing safety at a local level across all hospitals in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. This received enduring support from the British Pharmacological Society to make this accessible on a national level.

A Truly Multidisciplinary Approach

Our success lay in our ability to bring together professionals from various healthcare fields. Both our speakers and our audience were diverse, representing a wide range of healthcare disciplines. This collaboration involved Safer Use of Medicines Group, ADTC Communication Committee, medical governance pharmacists and clinical pharmacologists. This helped to enrich our efforts and promote holistic solutions to prescribing safety challenges.

Empowering the Next Generation of Prescribers

In addition to our ongoing initiatives, we organised workshops tailored to international medical graduates and newly qualified FY1s joining Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. These sessions provided invaluable insight into local prescribing guidelines and prescription charts, boosting the confidence of participants in their prescribing abilities.

What sets our workshops apart is the face-to-face aspect, where we foster an environment where participants feel comfortable asking questions and seeking guidance. It's this unique interaction that makes our educational efforts so impactful.
Our journey still continues, where we are committed to championing safe prescribing practices and medicines reconciliation, ensuring that healthcare professionals especially those who are very early in their career are well equipped to provide the best possible care to their patients.
This blog was published in connection to World Patient Safety Day 2023.
Further reading: World Patient Safety Day 2022: advancing medication safety.


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About the author

Dr Stefanie Lip and Dr Linsay McCallum

Dr Stefanie Lip is an StR in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Clinical Research Fellow based at the University of Glasgow. She is currently the Deputy Lead for the Vertical Clinical Pharmacology Theme at the University of Glasgow, StR Clinical Pharmacology Trainee Representative for Scotland and the Sub-Committee chair for National Training/Education for the StR Sub-Committee at the British Pharmacological Society.

Dr Linsay McCallum is a Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology and Acute Physician in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She is a NRS Career Research Fellow and the Clinical Pharmacology Undergraduate Vertical Theme Lead for the University of Glasgow and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer.

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