GHP December 2015

ghp December 2015 | 5 Care Home Prescribing Safer through Welsh Government investment Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford visited Tower Hill Residential Home, in Penarth, which is one of 30 care homes to pilot a new system, utilising innovative barcode technology generated in local pharmacies, to ensure residents receive the correct prescription medicines. The Minister witnessed the system in action at the near- by Washington Pharmacy where he met the residents and staff. Pharmacies and care homes in Swansea, Tondu, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthen are also participating in the pilot. Care home staff use the new system to: • Identify the resident; • Select the right medication and; • Record its administration. Error checking and data collection are built into the system to ensure a safer and more efficient medicines management process. Professor Drakeford commented: “This new way of working is improving the quality and safety of care within care homes and reducing waste – not just wasted medicines but also wasted staff time. Ordering and managing medicines in a care home can be a full-time job, which is time that could be better spent caring for residents.” Technology company Beacon Digital was awarded £455,000 from the Welsh Government’s Health Tech- nology and Telehealth Fund to demonstrate the effec- tiveness of the system in Wales. The funding was used to buy equipment, develop the supporting software and train more than 500 care home and pharmacy staff in its use.” Professor Clive Bowman, executive chairman of Beacon Digital, said: “We are delighted to have the support of the Welsh Gov- ernment to demonstrate the effectiveness of technology to deliver greater safety and efficiency and develop the role of the pharmacy.” “An independent Cardiff University School of Pharmacy study of six of the care homes involved has found that as well as significant staff time spent on medicines management, on average each care home was carrying around £500 of overstocked medicines. Improved stock control in each residential home ensures that fewer medicines reach their expiry date before use and there- fore have to be thrown away.” In November, the Welsh Government announced investment in new technology in pharmacies and care homes throughout Wales with the aim of reducing wasted medicines and prescribing errors as well as improving patient care Professor Drakeford added: “This system makes the best use of pharmacists’ time and expertise; reduces waste and improves safety for residents. It’s a great example of collaboration as well as prudent healthcare – making the best use of resources to improve the care people in Tower Hill and the other care homes taking part in this pilot receive.” The project is sponsored by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. © Crown copyright