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Today (17th September), the World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched their first-ever World Patient Safety Day to highlight the importance of patient safety and encourage organisations across the globe to demonstrate their commitment to safer healthcare.
Omnicell UK&I welcomes the launch of this campaign which aims to raise awareness of, and improve global patient welfare. As an organisation, we have always recognised the important role technology plays in driving up safety standards by helping to reduce medication errors. In England 237 million mistakes occur every year at some point in the medication process. These errors cause serious issues for patient safety, but also place a significant cost burden on an already stretched NHS. Our technology also helps to free-up healthcare professionals administrative tasks, allowing them to spend more time on face-to-face patient care.
The Day sees the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) demanding legislation to be introduced in England to ensure safe staffing levels in all health and care settings. Similar legislation on safe staffing levels was introduced in Wales in 2016, and Scotland earlier this year. In February, Omnicell held a high- profile Health Summit in Westminster, at which Yinglen Butt, Associate Director of Quality and Regulation at the RCN, gave a passionate speech outlining the impact of safe staffing levels and medication errors on the nursing profession.
It is estimated that approximately 40% of nurses’ clinical time is spent administering medications, translating to a staggering 12-16 hours in any given working week. The workforce impact of these medication errors is monumental, including psychological trauma, loss of confidence, and in some instances disciplinary action.
Introducing electronic prescribing and medication administration systems into wards can help support our stretched nursing workforce and ensure the right patient receives the right dose of the right drug at the right time. Ultimately, this can help reduce the pressure nurses face when administering medication to patients whilst juggling a vast array of other day-to-day tasks.
World Patient Safety Day comes off the back of new data released yesterday stating that hundreds of patients were victims of “never events” in NHS Hospitals between April 2018 to July 2019. This includes patients being given overdoses of drugs such as insulin which put simply, would not occur with the right technology in place. The new data highlighted the importance of improving standards and a commitment to safer healthcare so that the number of “never events” are significantly reduced in the future.