Talk about medicines week

We are writing to share with you our learning and experience on an annual patient and multidisciplinary education event.

The Medicines Education Group was first established in 2014 in Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust. Its main objective was to increase awareness and review the delivery of education around medicines-related topics. There is evidence that a large number of admissions to acute hospitals are related to preventable medication-related issues. Medicines safety is one of NUH’s four safety priorities.

‘Talk about medicines week’ (TaM) was proposed in order to engage on medicines education within the wider community and tackle the issue using a patient-centred, multiprofessional approach. The first TaM was delivered in July 2015 and the success of the first event, which took place within the organisation, meant that the July 2016 event became a broader event and was extended across the Nottinghamshire region with our community partners.

It consists of a week-long series of events promoting the need for patients and staff to talk about medicines in order to improve awareness of medicines safety at the trust and determine perceived educational needs. In 2016, the event was repeated and a more extensive educational component was added to the event, which addressed education needs for the trust and from recommendations made from TaM 2015.

The aims of the event were: to encourage patients to be more confident to ask staff questions about their medicines; to encourage staff to be more confident to take questions and answer them appropriately; to increase awareness of medicines issues to improve patient safety further; to improve team working across professional groups; to work more cohesively with stakeholders in addressing patient needs relating to medicines; to support the development of resources and increase awareness of available educational resources and tools; and to increase awareness of medicine safety issues through the use of social media.

Several events took place during the week, including multiprofessional, multiprovider showcase events delivered and attended by multidisciplinary staff from secondary and primary care. There were patient-facing stands set up across the organisation in prominent locations (including non-NUH outpatients clinics) where services were promoted and medication reviews were offered. Also, a series of therapeutics teaching sessions were delivered by specialist pharmacists to nursing and allied healthcare professional staff on topics linked to the trust’s priority areas or with medicines-related risks.

Evaluation was sought from those experiencing aspects of TaM week. In 2015, 84 forms were received covering the full multiprofessional audience; 90% reported the week as good or excellent.

When asked how valuable the week was, 84% of respondents reported the week as being valuable. Analysis of the 2016 event is currently under way but early analysis suggests this has been a huge success and there is evidence that appetite for a repeat of such an event exists.

Adriece Al Rifai

Senior pharmacist, medical education

Mojgan H Sani

Head of pharmacy and clinical director, medicines optimisation

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Visiting professor, Universities of Nottingham and De Montfort University, Leicester

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, September 2016, Vol 8, No 9;8(9):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201622

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