A comparison of medicines management documents in use by NHS organisations in the West Midlands confirms that there are important differences between the primary care and hospital sectors in respect to medicines management interface issues. Of these, two aspects important to paediatric patients have been studied. These are the transfer of information as a patient is admitted to hospital, and access to long-term medicines for home-patients. National guidance provided by NICE requires medication reconciliation to be undertaken on admission to hospital for adults. A study of paediatric admissions, reported in this thesis, demonstrates that the clinical importance of this process is at least as important for children as for adults, and challenges current UK guidance. The transfer of essential medication information on hospital admission is central to the medication reconciliation process. Two surveys of PCTs in 2007 and again in 2009 demonstrate that very few PCTs provide guidance to GPs to support this process. Provision of guidance is increasing slowly but remains the exception. The provision of long-term medicines for children at home is hindered by this patient population often needing unlicensed drugs. Further studies demonstrate that primary care processes regularly fail to maintain access to essential drugs and patients and their carers frequently turn to hospitals for help. Surveys of hospital medical staff (single site) and hospital nurses (six UK sites) demonstrates the activity these healthcare workers perform to help children get the medicines they need. A similar survey of why carers turn to a hospital pharmacy department for urgent supplies (usually termed rescue-medicines) adds to the understanding of these problems and supports identifying service changes. A large survey of community pharmacies demonstrates the difficulties they have when dispensing hospital prescriptions and identifies practical solutions. This programme concludes by recommending service changes to support medication management for children.
|Date of Award
|Keith A Wilson (Supervisor)