In October 2014, the pharmacy department of Walsall healthcare NHS Trust, which provides general hospital and community services to approximately 260,000 people in Walsall and surrounding areas, set up a pharmacy patient forum group (PPFG). The main aim of the PPFG was to obtain an insight from end users with a view to helping the trust and department to achieve a high quality patient experience. The idea behind setting up this group was inspired by pharmacy team members who wanted to ensure that the department was contributing to the trust’s promises and standards for patient care, making sure that patients feel welcomed, cared for and in safe hands.
One major project of the PPFG has focused on designing universal sticker images to enable patients to identify indications for their medicines, eliminating the need for written interpretation when faced with language barriers. This project arose when patient representatives raised concerns about difficulties in identifying indications of medicines when treated for numerous conditions. We have developed a cardiology-specific sticker (a heart shape) and received a great response.
Stickers for pain and indigestion have recently been approved. We are looking to involve local primary schoolchildren in the design of future images. This will aid in helping strengthen local community relations and raise awareness of the projects.
A further project has focused on exploring patients’ negative perceptions about discharge delays regarding medicines. Patient representatives were invited to view the MEDI-365 automated dispensing machine which is used by ward-based clinical pharmacy teams.
This led to patient representatives viewing the pharmacy prescription tracking system (PTS), which is used to provide live information to ward staff about pharmacy workload and track patients’ medicines. The PTS has been further refined to produce a label which is attached to discharge medicines detailing the time taken to process the prescription. The final piece of work for the project will involve developing a discharge leaflet explaining the pharmacy discharge care pathway.
Patient representatives have toured the pharmacy department, including the dispensary, aseptic unit and out-of-hours medicines area. Patient representatives reported that they welcomed the opportunity to see a pharmacy department functioning within a busy district general hospital.
The pharmacy team at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is passionate about patient safety and we encourage patients and the public to participate actively in decisions about their care especially via the PPFG.
Ward services technical Manager
Lead pharmacist oncology/haematology
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust