Welcome to Ipswich Hospital
Our Passion, Your Care
Working together to improve medication advice
23 May 2018

Working together to improve medication advice

Patients at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are benefitting from high quality advice on their medication while receiving consistent standards of care across both sites after the pharmacies at the two trusts began working together as a single team.

The departments have been working closely together for over a year to share best practice and improve efficiency while also rolling out joint training for staff, such as the Structured Medicines Information Learning Exercise (SMiLE) programme. The programme aims to upskill clinical pharmacy staff so that they can access the medicines information they need to treat patients and optimise medication both for inpatients and on discharge home. In addition, chief pharmacist, Kevin Purser, spends his time between the Ipswich and Colchester pharmacy departments, while both teams liaise regularly to develop shared information for patients as well as their individual patient helplines.

Any patient who has been treated at either hospital can call their respective helpline for confidential information about any aspect of their medication, such as advice on combining newly-prescribed medicines with existing medication, side effects or what to do if they miss a dose. As an alternative to using the telephone, Ipswich has recently launched a ‘QR’ code which people with smart phones can use to link directly to the medicines advice for patients online information request form, which is also available on the hospital website.

During the autumn, both hospitals will work with the University of East Anglia on a research project exploring the impact the helplines have had, as well as asking patients where they would go for information if they were not available. It is hoped the study will show the helplines, which together receive more than 200 calls a year, have helped reduce reliance on other NHS resources by preventing unnecessary calls to GP surgeries or other healthcare services.

At the moment, patients should contact their own hospital’s helpline. However, once the merger is complete, staff at both sites will be able to answer questions from any patient.

To contact the Ipswich medicines advice helpline, call 01473 703604. For Colchester, call 01206 742161. The Medicines Information Team are encouraging all trust staff at both sites to promote this service widely to patients.

Other examples of our joint working within the pharmacy team include:
• looking at sharing manufacturing capabilities
• using best practice from each site for pharmacy procedures
• working together to minimize the impact of stock shortages