Medicines Safety

While Medicines are hugely important in healthcare, they also have the potential to cause problems.

Unsafe medication practice and errors can cause serious harm to patients due to: side effects; adverse reactions; misuse; and how medicines are prescribed, dispensed, administered or monitored.

There are also financial burdens for the health service.

In Northern Ireland (NI) we have an established infrastructure to support medication safety within primary and secondary care.

Quality 2020, the Department’s 10 year strategy for protecting and improving the quality of Health and Social Care Services in NI, recognises Safety as being one of three core components of quality services, alongside Effectiveness and Patient and Patient/Client Focus.

The Medicines Optimisation Quality Framework (MOQF) addresses the priority areas for medicines optimisation through ten Quality Standards within the three overarching Quality 2020 domains.

Improving medication safety and promoting an active medicine safety culture is a priority area.

In March 2017 the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched their third global patient safety challenge ‘Medication Without Harm’.

The goal is to reduce severe, avoidable medication-related harm globally by 50% over the next 5 years. In support of the WHO challenge, the Department of Health established a Medicines Safety Taskforce Group in April 2018 to develop a strategic vision for improving medication safety in NI.

Proposals will be informed by this group in shaping an approach to safe guard patients against avoidable medication related harm.

3rd Global Patient Safety Challenge - ‘Medication Without Harm’
(29th November 2018, Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey) - Symposium learning summary

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