If you are involved in the choice and supply of the most common treatment offered to NHS patients, you should read on. If you are currently being prescribed medicines and have some concerns or questions, read on. If you are a Pharmacy Technician and would like to make your job even more rewarding read on…….
Medicines are the most common treatment offered to NHS patients to treat and help to prevent ill health. Unfortunately, people often have unresolved issues and questions about medicines, and this leads to outcomes of care that are not as good as they could be or should be.
Since Me and My Medicines became widely available through the website, new and different approaches have been taken to encourage patient and professional consultations that concentrate on helping people to achieve the best possible outcome from their prescription medicines.
Julie Lawson, a Medicines Optimisation Technician, shares her experience of using the Medicine Communication Charter:
‘’My first clinic was very promising. I saw three patients initially. I sent the charter out to them before the clinic to give them a little time to get prepared and they came in armed with questions and queries about medication side-effects.
Questions included, ‘’Why am I not better yet, when I have been taking my blood pressure and cholesterol meds for ages? How do I use my inhaler and why have my diabetic meds been increased?’’
I had side effect queries such as ‘’Why do I feel better on the days when I don’t take my metformin? I don’t like taking my evening dose of my inhaler because it makes me feel funny and stops me sleeping.
I also discovered that one patient wasn’t getting enough inhalers each time so was using it daily to make it last. One was overdue a blood pressure check and still had a high blood pressure and another hadn’t ordered her new higher dose of diabetic medicine because she was worried about taking a higher dose.
I had a good discussion with all the patients about their meds and it felt very rewarding to have answered so many questions and hopefully improved their compliance and understanding of their medicines.
I received some great feedback, such as its great to be able to ask these questions, ‘’I don’t feel I can ask my GP as I know they only have 10 minutes to see a patient and my local pharmacy is very busy so I don’t like to bother them’’. I was also asked if they could refer a friend. What better feedback can you have than that?
Myself and my colleagues hope to do many more of these clinics and are excited at the prospect of encouraging patients to ask questions and have a greater understanding of their medicines. Our hope is that we can encourage the CCG to adopt this approach so that patients feel they can ask questions.’’
Julie Lawson – MLCSU Medicines Optimisation Technician embedded within NHS Greater Preston & NHS Chorley & South Ribble CCGs, Lancashire.
All this was achieved by a skilled and determined Pharmacy Technician using the Medicines Communication Charter which can be downloaded and printed from the Me and My Medicines website.
A real concern often shared by health professionals is that they may not know all the answers to the question’s patients ask. This raises some professional issues. However, it is vital that if a patient has a concern about the treatment, they are being asked to take on a daily basis they should be able to raise any and all concerns. They should get the best possible responses to help support and encourage safer, more effective and more appropriate use of their medicines.
We would be delighted to hear of your similar stories and experiences, so please do get in touch.
Patient and Public Involvement Lead
Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network
9th July 2019