News

A prescription for prevention


8 November 2011

Medicine-related hospital admissions could be reduced by a simple initiative designed and implemented by researchers at the University of Sydney's Faculty of Pharmacy.

The faculty is asking community pharmacists across Australia to participate in National Medication Safety Week from 7 to 13 November 2011.

Professor Andrew McLachlan, Associate Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy says: "Pharmacists have a key role in facilitating and achieving quality use of medicines for all Australians, a key objective of our National Medicines Policy.

"National Medication Safety Week provides a unique opportunity for pharmacists to have an impact on documenting and understanding the drivers that influence quality use of medicines in the community. I encourage all pharmacists to take up the challenge and be a part of this exciting initiative."

More than 200 million prescriptions are dispensed in pharmacies across Australia each year, says Dr Romano Fois, principal investigator of the initiative.

With over 190,000 medicine-related hospital admissions in Australia every year, Dr Fois says pharmacists are in a unique position to gather data that could assist in the preventing these incidents.

"Reporting medication safety incidents and their causes will help to highlight patient safety issues. It will expand our knowledge of human and systemic factors that can contribute to these incidents."

"National Medication Safety Week is also a means for community pharmacists to highlight the importance of medication safety to patients and positively influence the design of systems for primary health care in Australia."

The knowledge gained from the week-long campaign will help in designing safer care systems It could also assist health care workers, educators, policy makers, patients and families to work together to improve patient safety says collaborator Associate Professor Timothy Chen.

"Each medication incident encountered by pharmacists holds an opportunity for a lesson to be learned, but until now we have not had a national organised process for collecting and analysing these incidents to prevent them from recurring and causing unnecessary harm."

The faculty has set up a website containing information about how to participate in the National Medication Safety Week reporting project along with an online reporting tool for community pharmacists.


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Media enquiries: Kath Kenny (Mon, Wed, Thurs), 0478 303 173, 02 9351 1584, kath.kenny@sydney.edu.au

Victoria Hollick (Tues, Fri), 0401 711 361, 02 9351 2579, victoria.hollick@sydney.edu.au