NPS encourages pharmacists to take part in National Medication Safety Week

7 November 2011

As part of the inaugural National Medication Safety Week (7–13 November 2011), NPS encourages community pharmacists to get involved in an incident reporting project that will help provide insights into medication safety incidents and how they can be prevented.

During National Medication Safety Week — an initiative by the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney — community pharmacists from around Australia are encouraged to identify and anonymously report preventable medication safety incidents they encounter throughout the week.

NPS CEO Dr Lynn Weekes says the National Medication Safety Week initiative is an opportunity for pharmacists to contribute to improving the safety of patients in the primary health care environment.

“Patient safety is paramount when it comes to medicines, especially given the 190,000 medicine-related hospital admissions that happen in Australia every year,” says Dr Weekes.

“Pharmacists are well placed to identify when medicines safety issues arise and to ask why they happened. We encourage pharmacists to get involved in National Medication Safety Week and report medication safety incidents and near misses to help build the body of knowledge in this area.”

Initiatives like National Medication Safety Week complement other initiatives for health professionals to support patient safety in the primary health care setting, including the NPS Pharmacy Practice Reviews for pharmacists which use best practice standards and guidelines to help pharmacists review and improve their practice.

The University of Sydney has set up a website containing information about how to participate in the incident reporting project along with an online reporting tool for community pharmacists at www.australianpharmsafety.org.

Resources for consumers:

  • To report and discuss side effects that might be related to their medicine, consumers can call the Adverse Medicine Events (AME) Line on 1300 134 237. The side effects — but not personal details — are reported to the TGA.
  • Consumers with questions about the medicines they’re offered, including how the medicine works, possible side effects and interactions with other medicines, can contact Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) from anywhere in Australia (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm EST).

ENDS

Independent, evidence-based and not-for-profit, NPS enables better decisions about medicines and medical tests.We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.