Friday, June 14, 2024

Local feedback delivers new ‘Pharmacy on Wheels’ scheme

A KEY challenge for discharging patients from hospital before 3pm is the provision of medication for them to take home from the pharmacy. 

A challenge recently highlighted from feedback on local community pages with more than 100 out of 160 responses stating their relatives’ discharge from hospital was delayed due to the time taken to provide medication. 

In response to that, the local NHS has invested in the ‘Pharmacy on Wheels’ concept. The scheme provides more benefits for patients, their families, and nurses, as well as a range of other associated advantages. 

The concept is ‘takeaway’ medication that saves them waiting for long periods of time in pharmacies. This saves the patient time, reduces systems pressures, lifts burdens on nurses from chasing up medication, frees up beds within hospitals. 

Dr Ronan Fenton, Medical Director, Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board said; “We are already seeing great signs, even in the early stages of this concept”. 

“A trial has demonstrated a reduction in the time it takes a patient to be discharged from 150 to 30 minutes, resulting in more people being discharged before 3pm”. 

“Patient experience has greatly improved, helping people to go home in daylight hours and meaning they are much less likely to be readmitted”. 

The initiative is being supported by local hospital trusts, community providers, GP leads and commissioning organisations. 

Simon Worrall, Deputy Chief Pharmacist from Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said; “The feedback we have received from patients and staff about how we could improve the discharge process has been really valuable. Setting up this service has already made a significant difference for patients.” 

“People in all three hospital sites have benefitted, saving around 48 hours of nursing time per day, which can be spent on providing direct patient care”.   

“The scheme also releases nine beds per day on average which all equates to notional efficiency savings of just under £953,000 per year”. 

To find out more about the ‘Pharmacy on Wheels’ scheme and its benefits, please visit the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System website or click here.

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