National Medication Safety Week 7th - 13th November

4 November 2011

National Medication Safety Week - 7th - 13th November
National Medication Safety Week - 7th - 13th November

National Medication Safety Week - Get involved!

Community pharmacists throughout Australia are invited to participate in the National Medication Safety Week (NMSW) initiative. Reporting medication safety incidents and their causes will help to highlight patient safety issues in the primary health care environment. It will expand our knowledge of human and systemic factors that can contribute to these incidents.

Dr Romano Fois, principal investigator for this project says: "The National Medication Safety Week is a means for community pharmacists to highlight the importance of medication safety and positively influence the design of systems for primary health care in Australia."

"With over 200 million prescriptions dispensed annually, potentially harmful medication related incidents are captured and addressed by community pharmacists every day. These incidents are often preventable consequences of systems of care. Pharmacists are well placed to identify the factors behind such incidents, for example: similar names for medicines may lead to confusion in prescribing, dispensing or use."

Knowledge gained from NMSW will help in designing safer systems of care. It will assist health care workers, developers of education, programs, tools and policies, patients and families to work together to improve patient safety.

Associate Professor Timothy Chen, project investigator says: "Participation in this innovative project will help provide further evidence for the important role community pharmacists play in optimising healthcare."

"Each medication incident encountered by pharmacists holds an opportunity for a lesson to be learnt 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."

All community pharmacists across Australia are being asked to take a few minutes during the National Medication Safety Week (7th- 13th November) to submit anonymous reports of incidents encountered. Getting involved is easy - simply IDENTIFY the incidents, ASK WHY they occurred and REPORT anonymously at

Associate Dean, Professor Andrew McLachlan says: "Pharmacists have a key role in facilitating and achieving quality use of medicines (QUM) for all Australians, a key objective of our National Medicines Policy. Using medicines safely and effectively is critical to achieving QUM and pharmacists are well placed to understand the patient, practice and system factors that contribute to this."

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

For more information and to participate, please visit:

Follow us on twitter @NMSW2011 for regular updates.

And for further questions, please contact research student and coordinator of this initiative, Rachel George.

Ph: Rachel George (0415 733 462) or Dr Romano Fois (02 93511 4434)


Contact: Kate Sanday

Phone: 02 9351 2311

Email: 282556285427261a495f362a255c460c3a03161240342a231544200e121d3645