The World Health Organisation launched its 3rd Global Patient Safety Challenge in March 2017. Medication Without Harm aims to reduce severe avoidable medication related harm by 50% globally over five years. The challenge sets out five actions:
- Take early action to protect patients from harm arising from: high-risk situations; polypharmacy; and transitions of care
- Convene national experts, health system leaders and practitioners to produce guidance and action plans for each of the targeted domains
- Put mechanisms in place, including the use of tools and technologies, to enhance patient awareness and knowledge about medicines and medication use process, and patients’ role in managing their own medications safely
- Designate a national coordinator to spearhead the Global Patient Safety Challenge on Medication Safety
- Assess progress regularly
The Department of Health and Social Care responded to the challenge by commissioning a team of experts from three universities to review the evidence on medication errors in England, which was published in February 2018. The DHSC also set up a Short Life Working Group on reducing medication-related harm, who made recommendations for a programme of work to tackle medication error and improve medication safety.
The recommendations included the development of a repository of good practice to share learning and the establishment of a programme on medication safety and error. Key stakeholders in medication safety are working together and further details on the Medicines Safety Programme are expected imminently.
Medication Safety Officer Lead, Specialist Pharmacy Service