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Mp Visits University Hospital Of North Tees To See How Technology Is Helping To Reduce Medication Errors And Improve Patient Safety

Local MP Alex Cunningham has visited (Friday 12th July) the University Hospital of North Tees, to understand more about the key role technology is playing in driving patient safety standards. The Trust has, in recent years, harnessed and invested in cutting-edge technology to manage medication administration. The automated systems reduce the risk of medication errors and free-up healthcare professionals to spend more time on face-to-face patient care.

The visit comes in the wake of a report by the Department of Health and Social Care last year which disclosed that in England 237 million mistakes occur every year at some point in the medication process1.  These errors cause serious issues for patient safety, but also place a significant cost burden on an already stretched NHS. The new Patient Safety Strategy published by NHS England and NHS Improvement just last week found the NHS failed to save 11,000 lives a year due to safety concerns with the cost of extra treatment needed following incidents being over £1bn.

At the MP visit, Professor Mojgan Sani, Director of Medicines Optimisation and Head of Pharmacy and QC Laboratories at the University Hospital of North Tees, demonstrated the benefit of the Trust’s decision to invest in a series of Omnicell systems which automate the administration of medication.  This new approach allows Trusts to track everything back to the patient from the moment the medication is prescribed to when it is administered – ensuring patient safety.

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North commented; “It never ceases to amaze me how new technologies can drive improvements for patients in the system but also ensure that the best use is made of resources and that waste is all but eradicated.  I know decisions to invest in new ideas can be a tough call for clinicians when the NHS is under such considerable financial stress but I am sure that in this case they have demonstrated best value.”

Professor Sani commented: “Our Trust is one of the most digitally advanced organisation within the NHS, and one of the top performing Trust for waiting times and patient flow.  We have utilised technology such as Omnicell cabinets on wards to support clinical pharmacists and nursing colleagues in fast tracking patient discharges, creating bed capacity for new admissions.  Omnicell cabinets have also improved lean processes within Pharmacy and theatres for the management and accountability of Controlled Drugs.”

Paul O’Hanlon, Managing Director of Omnicell UK & Ireland, who facilitated the visit commented; “It’s great to see that Alex is here today to see at first-hand how important it is to invest in new technology.  Medicine and nursing is a safety critical industry – behind every statistic is someone’s life, it is always someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s daughter.”

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