The All Wales Heads of Adults’ Services (AWASH) Group and NHS Wales, in collaboration with their partner organisations, have launched a set of high-level principles to encourage better medicines support for people who are receiving care at home.
The principles, developed by a multidisciplinary committee comprising health and social care practitioners, have been approved nationally and endorsed as good practice by key influential stakeholders, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Care Inspectorate Wales and Social Care Wales.
The aim of the principles is to ensure that there is clear and consistent support to promote the safe use of medicines in the community, and to enable the best possible outcomes, with a reduced risk of harm. The principles will ensure that local medicines policies are robust and standardised across Wales and are underpinned by NICE’s guideline and quality standards on managing medicines in the community (NG67 and QS171), where commissioners are responsibile for ensuring that people who receive social care are supported to take and look after their medicines effectively and safely at home.
The principles are to be used as a vehicle for enabling key conversations to take place across different sectors and encourage health commissioners and local authorities to work together. A collaborative approach is essential for the delivery of effective person-centred medicines support, which will reduce the number of people going to care homes and reduce the number of preventable medicines-related hospital admissions.
Care workers play an extremely important role by providing this medicines support in the community to allow people to retain their independence. AWASH and NHS Wales recognise the challenges and resource implications of training and the assessment of care workers’ competency. Developing a consistent approach to policy at national level gives the opportunity to build a national approach to training.
On the back of this work, AWASH and NHS Wales are exploring a ‘Once for Wales’ approach (a national approach to avoid duplication), which has been used in other parts of NHS Wales. A quality-assured national training and competency package would facilitate care workers working across local authority borders, to improve safety and staff confidence levels, and build a workforce that has the necessary skills and competence to support the long-term needs of the sector.
You can find the English version of the principles at: https://www.adss.cymru/en/category/principles-medicines and the Welsh version at: https://www.adss.cymru/cy/category/principles-medicines.
Emyr Jones, consultant pharmacist, national lead for community healthcare, NHS Wales