Adverse medication events abound

A ‘Medicine Safety; Take Care’ report has revealed 1.2 million Australians have experienced an adverse medication event in the last six months.

Moreover, 250,000 hospital admissions annually are a result of medication-related problems. This has come at a cost of $1.4 billion each year.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has identified the move from hospital back into aged care or the community as a known challenge.

Health Minister Greg Hunt addressed this with the Medicine Safety and Quality Use of Medicines as Australia’s tenth national health priority area a year ago.

Hospital pharmacists have been identified as ideally positioned to manage the safe and high-quality use of medications at the most critical stages of the care journey when Australians are at increased risk of adverse effects.

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) Medication Safety Position Statement supports this endeavour, advocating that:

  • Medications can be harmful if not used appropriately, therefore medication safety is core business for all health service organisations.
  • Consumers are entitled to safe, effective and timely medication management services while they are undergoing medical treatment.
  • As pharmacists are experts in medication management, they should be integrated into the multidisciplinary healthcare team, working in partnership with health practitioners and consumers, to lead, facilitate and promote high standards of safe and timely prescribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring of medications, ensuring safe and optimal medication use for all Australians.

Working with its members, SHPA’s Medication Safety Specialty Practice Leadership Committee has put forth the following to mitigate the risks of medication-related harms:

  1. Expansion of Partnered Pharmacist Medication Charting (PPMC) to all Australian hospitals.
  2. Use of Interim Medication Charts in key transitions of care settings.
  3. Seven-day, extended-hours access to clinical pharmacy services in all health settings where medications are being used.
  4. Pharmacist-led medication safety programs in all Australian hospitals.

For further information on the report, click here.