NPSA safety alerts reviewed


Intravenous literature: Lankshear, A., Lowson, K. and Weingart, S.N. (2011) An assessment of the quality and impact of NPSA medication safety outputs issued to the NHS in England and Wales. BMJ Quality & Safety. 20(4)


Objectives – To assess the quality and impact of medication safety outputs issued by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) to the NHS in England and Wales.

Methods – A multi-method study comprising (1) focus groups and interviews with NHS Chief Pharmacists and (2) an electronic survey of medical, nursing and clinical governance directors.

Results – Acute sector respondents agreed that the medication outputs had a major impact on patient safety. Pharmacists welcomed national support for medication safety improvement, despite the resulting workload. Medical Directors were much less likely to be aware of alerts and Rapid Response Reports (RRRs) than their nursing and clinical governance colleagues. One key finding was the inability of around half of NHS trusts to communicate effectively and reliably with their junior doctors.

Conclusion – Medication alerts issued by the NPSA have stimulated significant work to improve medication safety and are believed to have had an important impact on patient safety.

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