Pharmacists should become ‘patient safety specialists’ under new NHS safety plan

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NHS Improvement has suggested pharmacists take on the role of “patient safety specialists” as part of its new national safety strategy.

In a consultation document for the development of a new patient safety strategy, NHS Improvement said it proposes to set up “a network of senior patient safety specialists in providers and local systems to become the backbone of patient safety in the NHS”.

It added that these roles should not be filled through new recruitment but instead “by identifying existing staff who are already working in safety-related roles, be they nurses, doctors, pharmacists, managers or allied health professionals”.

The consultation, which opened on 14 December 2018, also proposed that “wherever we establish safety improvement initiatives that our default ambition should be to reduce measurable harm by 50%”.

According to the consultation document, one such initiative includes “significant new work on medication safety”.

It continued: “Whilst the interventions are not yet decided, we know which medicines, patients and processes are highest risk and that there is a need to intervene to reduce harm in these areas.

“We also intend that this programme should link to the important work on antimicrobial resistance which is an increasing and significant global safety challenge”.

The public consultation is set to close on 15 February 2019.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, January 2019, Vol 302, No 7921;302(7921):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205918

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