Community pharmacists in Dudley, West Midlands, have become part of a network for vulnerable patients with mental health conditions who are at risk of self harm.
Dudley local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) has worked with Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust to create the network, which allows community pharmacists to raise concerns about the mental health of their patients if and when they feel it is necessary.
If a pharmacist feels that any patient with a mental health illness, who they see on a regular basis, is deteriorating, they are advised to contact the mental health trust using an emergency number. The scheme has been running since the end of May 2018.
The agreement between the LPC and the trust also means that if the mental health trust has new and relevant information about patients who are known to use a specific community pharmacy, and have been identified at risk of self-harm, it will call the pharmacy concerned.
In addition, any information relating to changes in medicines for individuals who have been discharged from in-patient services will also be communicated to their specific community pharmacy via a phone call and email.
Andrew Campbell, chief pharmacist at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the initiative was part of a move to expand the network of support for its patients.
“It is expected that community pharmacists will be empowered to establish contact if they feel that a known service user may be in need of specialist help and support,” he said.
“We have agreed at our Trust Medicines Management Committee to notify the relevant community pharmacy and [GP pharmacist] if an individual is identified to be at risk of self harm from medicines.
“It is anticipated that this will mitigate some of the risks to these vulnerable individuals — it is important for us as a team to build stronger links with our pharmacy colleagues in primary care so that patient safety is improved.”