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Found 18 results
  1. Content Article
    Recommendations As a result of the national investigation, HSIB has made three safety recommendations to facilitate better understanding of the role of the ward-based pharmacist, and to encourage best practice and resilience when identifying and developing models of pharmacy provision. It is recommended that NHS England and NHS Improvement carry out work to understand and further define the work of hospital clinical pharmacy teams, including the period between initial medicine reconciliation and discharge, in consultation with relevant stakeholders. It is recommended that the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement, should provide guidance on models of hospital clinical pharmacy provision. The guidance should provide information on the models’ ability to enhance safety and healthcare resilience and include consideration of the appropriate skill mix and experience within the clinical pharmacy team. It is recommended that the NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service should update its resource on the prioritisation of hospital clinical pharmacy services to facilitate the dissemination of developments in good practice and policy with respect to pharmacy prioritisation and the issues highlighted in this report.
  2. News Article
    All NHS hospitals in England have been told to destroy a powerful medicine mistakenly used by staff because its packaging looks the same as another drug. A national safety alert was issued following several incidents, including two deaths of babies, in which patients were inadvertently given a dose of sodium nitrite – which is used as an antidote to cyanide poisoning – rather than sodium bicarbonate. The errors are thought to have been caused by similarities between the labelling and drug packaging used by manufacturers. Now hospitals have been told to check all wards and medicine storage areas for sodium nitrite and to destroy any of the unlicensed product. The drug should only be available in emergency departments and may have been supplied to medical wards by mistake. There are an estimated 237 million medication errors in the NHS every year – with a third linked to packaging and labelling. Read full story Source: The Independent, 9 August 2020
  3. News Article
    People with chronic pain that can’t be explained by other conditions should not be prescribed opioids because they do more harm than good, the medicines watchdog has warned. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said people should instead be offered group exercise, acupuncture and psychological therapy. In new draft guidance, NICE said most of the common medications used for chronic primary pain has little or no evidence to support their use in patients aged over 16. Its latest guidance comes amid concerns over the level of opioid use. In September last year a review by Public Health England found 1 in 4 adults have been prescribed addictive medications with half of them taking the drugs for longer than 12 months. NICE’s new draft guidance said some antidepressants should be considered for people with chronic primary pain but it said paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as benzodiazepines or opioids should not be given because of concerns they might do more harm than good. Read full story Source: The Independent, 4 August 2020
  4. News Article
    Intensive care units across the country are running out of essentials, including anaesthetics and drugs for anxiety and blood pressure, after a “tripling of demand” sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. Six senior NHS doctors working on the front line, and drugs industry sources, say that the health service is running out of at least eight crucial drugs. Hospitals in London, Birmingham and the northwest of England have been especially badly hit. Doctors said they were being forced to use alternatives to their “drug of choice”, affecting the quality of care being provided to COVID-19 patients. They also warned that some second-choice drugs might be triggering dangerous side effects such as minor heart attacks. Ron Daniels, an intensive care consultant in the West Midlands, said the shortages had become “acute” already. “We don’t know what we’re going to run out of next week,” he said. “Safety isn’t so much the issue — it’s quality. It may be that we’re subjecting people to longer periods of ventilation than we would normally because the drugs take longer to wear off.” Daniels added that some of the “second-line drugs” being used might be challenging to a patient’s heart: “We might be causing small heart attacks or subclinical heart attacks.” Ravi Mahajan, president of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, said work was being carried out to “preserve” key drugs for those most in need. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 26 April 2020
  5. News Article
    Experts have criticised NHS advice that people self-isolating with Covid-19 should take ibuprofen, saying there is plausible evidence this could aggravate the condition. The comments came after French authorities warned against taking widely used over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs. The country’s health minister, Olivier Véran, a qualified doctor and neurologist, tweeted on Saturday: “The taking of anti-inflammatories [ibuprofen, cortisone … ] could be a factor in aggravating the infection. In case of fever, take paracetamol. If you are already taking anti-inflammatory drugs, ask your doctor’s advice.” NHS guidance states that people managing Covid-19 symptoms at home should take paracetamol or ibuprofen. “I would advise against that,” said Prof Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading. “There’s good scientific evidence for ibuprofen aggravating the condition or prolonging it. That recommendation needs to be updated.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 March 2020
  6. Content Article
    Key recommendations All patients should be informed of the risks of general anaesthesia, including the possibility of AAGA, before their surgery. When consenting patients, practitioners should use a form of words that proportionately conveys the risks of AAGA. Consent for sedation should emphasise that the patient will be awake and therefore may have recall for at least parts of the procedure. Practitioners should identify certain situations or certain patient factors as constituting a higher risk for AAGA (including organisational factors such as overbooked or reorganised surgical lists) and highlight these at the WHO premeet/team brief. During induction of anaesthesia, practitioners should adhere to suitable dosing of intravenous agent, check anaesthetic effect before paralysis or instrumentation of the airway and maintain anaesthetic administration, including during transfer of patients (which is facilitated by a simple ABCDE checklist). If AAGA is suspected during maintenance (e.g., by patient movement), prompt attention should be paid to giving verbal reassurance to the patient, increasing analgesia, and deepening the level of anaesthesia. For cases requiring paralysis, the minimum dose of neuromuscular blocking drugs (NMBDs) that achieves sufficient neuromuscular blockade for surgery should be used, and the nerve stimulator is an essential monitor to titrate the dosing of NMBDs to this minimum. Where total intravenous anaesthesia (TIVA) is used, practitioners should adhere to the relevant recently published guidelines. At emergence, practitioners should first confirm that surgery is complete, then ensure NMBDs are adequately reversed before allowing the patient to regain consciousness. Practitioners should then manage the patient experience, particularly during awake extubation, by speaking to the patient. Cases of AAGA should be managed using the NAP5 pathway as a guide.
  7. Content Article
    Issuing of controlled drugs within the operating department and key holding Ordering and transferring of drugs Unused controlled drugs Security requirements Disposal of controlled drugs.
  8. News Article
    A shortage of contraception is causing chaos and risks unplanned pregnancies and abortions, doctors are warning. Leading sexual health experts have written to ministers warning that the supply shortage of contraceptives is beginning to lead to serious problems across the UK. A number of daily pills and a long-acting injectable contraceptive are thought to be affected, including Noriday, Norimin and Synphase. The problem follows a shortage of hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women last year. It is unclear how many women use these types of contraception - overall around three million women take daily pills, and more than 500,000 use long-acting contraception, such as coils, implants and injections. The Royal College of GPs said its members were doing their best to help women find alternatives - there are many different types of daily pill available. Faculty president Dr Asha Kasliwal said; "We are aware that women are sent away with prescriptions for unavailable products and end up lost in a system. This is causing utter chaos." The faculty has teamed up with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Menopause Society to write to ministers, asking them to set up a working group to address the problems. The letter warns women are becoming distressed by having to find alternative products that might not necessarily suit them or go without contraception altogether. It said this was affecting the "physical and mental wellbeing of girls and women" and could lead to a "rise in unplanned pregnancies and abortions". Read full story Source: BBC News, 7 February 2020
  9. News Article
    The toxicity of a commonly prescribed beta blocker needs better recognition across the NHS to prevent deaths from overdose, a new report warns today. The Healthcare and Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) report focuses on propranolol, a cardiac drug that is now predominately used to treat migraine and anxiety symptoms. It is highly toxic when taken in large quantities and patients deteriorate quickly, making it difficult to treat. The investigation highlighted that these risks aren’t known widely enough by medical staff across the health service, whether issuing prescriptions to at risk patients, responding to overdose calls or carrying out emergency treatment. Dr Stephen Drage, ICU consultant and HSIB’s Director of Investigations, said: “Propranolol is a powerful and safe drug, benefitting patients across the country. However, what our investigation has highlighted is just how potent it can be in overdose. This safety risk spans every area of healthcare – from the GPs that initially prescribe the drug, to ambulance staff who respond to those urgent calls and the clinicians that administer emergency treatment." The report also emphasises that there is a link between anxiety, depression and migraine, and that more research is needed to understand the interactions between antidepressants and propranolol in overdose. Read full story Source: HSIB, 6 February 2020
  10. Content Article
    Safety recommendations: It is recommended that NHSX develops a process to recognise and act on digital issues reported from the Patient Safety Incident Management System. It is recommended that NHSX supports the development of interoperability standards for medication messaging. It is recommended that NHSX continues its assessment of the ePRaSE pilot and considers making ePRaSE a mandatory annual reporting requirement for the assessment and assurance of electronic prescribing and medicines administration safety. It is recommended that the Department of Health and Social Care should consider how to prioritise the commissioning of research on human factors and clinical decision support systems; particularly in relation to the configuration of software system alerting and alert fatigue, to establish how best to maximise clinician response to high risk medication alerts. It is recommended that NHS England and NHS Improvement include in the Medication Safety Programme shared decision making and improved patient access to medication information across all sectors of care, to ensure a person-centred approach to safe and effective medicines use. It is recommended that NHSX produces guidance for configuring the electronic discharge process, and how electronic prescribing and medicines administration systems should be interfaced with such a process.
  11. Content Article
    Key points Medication errors are the most common type of error affecting patient safety and the most common single, preventable cause of adverse events. Medicines calculations can assist in preventing an inaccurate medicines dose from being administered to the patient, which could result in suboptimal therapeutic benefit and/or possible harm to the patient. It is crucial for IV infusion calculations to be accurate, because these medicines directly enter the venous system and generally have a prompt action. Therefore, there is limited possibility of removing the medicine if an error is made. Individual nurses and healthcare organisations must ensure that medicines calculation skills are developed and maintained in practice.
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