Before coming into hospital, patients are asked to bring all medicines they are taking with them, this includes compliance aids and pill pouches. Having all of the patients’ medicine together will help staff know which medicines they take and how they should be prescribed. Patients are less likely to miss any doses of medicines, and if they are moved between wards, their medicines will move with them. Using the patient's own medicines means the hospital pharmacy often won’t need to dispense more of the same medicines which helps to reduce medicines waste. All the medicines needed by patients will be returned to them before they leave hospital.
Patients with compliance aids can alert hospital staff on admission to ensure that their local pharmacy is notified, this allows the pharmacy to put a hold on arrangements for the compliance aid and to make any changes resulting from the hospital stay. At discharge, the hospital and GP practice pharmacy teams work together with the local pharmacy to ensure the patient's compliance aid is reinstated with the correct medicines.
Patients should bring all their own medicines, including patches, eye drops, creams, injections, supplements, any herbal remedies and asthma inhalers in their original containers into hospital.
The service aims to improve patient safety and satisfaction by:
- Giving healthcare staff accurate information on all patient's medicines
- Improving patient safety and risk of errors
- Enabling patients to maintain familiarity with their own medicines
- Helping avoid delays in administration and discharge as the patient's own medicines stay with them throughout
- Reducing waste as additional prescriptions are no longer required on discharge
- Improving communication of medicines changes to care providers
- Medicines waste costs NHS Fife over £2 million per year, and patients should only order what they need. There is no need to order medicines just in case or stockpile them, as pharmacies receive daily deliveries. Returned medicines cannot be recycled or reused. Patients should speak to their pharmacist or GP to discuss any medicines they no longer need or take.