Unintended errors in the prescription, administration and reconciliation of high risk medicines account for a significant proportion of harm caused to patients within the healthcare environment. High risk medicines are medicines that are most likely to cause significant harm to the patient, even when used as intended. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) reports that incident rates with these medicines may not necessarily be higher than with other medicines, but when incidents occur the impact on the patient can be significant (serious).
The fourth report from the Patient Safety Observatory reported that 60,000 medication incidents were reported to the NPSA via the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) between January 2005 and June 2006. The report reviews 92 of these incidents in detail, 38 of which resulted in death.
The Patient Safety First campaign (first launched in 2008) – ‘How to Guide’ for Reducing Harm from High Risk Medicines, highlighted actions that can reduce harm from high risk medicines based on approaches to developing safer systems: identification, prevention and mitigation.
By following a number of simple steps the risk of unintended harm to patients can be minimised.
The aim of the ‘Reduction in High Risk Medication Harm’ project is to reduce the number of incidents involving high risk medicines across the East Midlands by prevention, identification and mitigation of risks.
Its objectives are:
To identify how designated leads provide board assurance in relation to the tracking and reduction of high risk medicines (Anticoagulants, Sedatives, Opiates & Insulin). Identify and share best practice.
What are High Risk Medicines?