Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust NHS Lozenge

Improving communications with community pharmacies.

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The Pharmacy Department has successfully implemented Connect with Pharmacy – an electronic communication with community pharmacies to pass on information about discharge medication.  

They've started by communicating information about patients on ‘dosette’ boxes which was previously being faxed. They will move on to sending information about other patients who may need further support from community pharmacists following discharge from hospital, eg where they have been started on new medicines.

We've done it in conjunction with Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire and we were supported by The Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) which has contributed funding. 

Deputy Clinical Director Pharmacy, Fiona Smith, said: “We have been wanting to improve communication with our community pharmacists for some time – it has always felt that it was the right thing to do, especially for those people who were leaving hospital with multiple medications. Funding was an issue, so we were really pleased when the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN was able to support us in delivering this important programme.

“We now have a faster, more secure route to refer our patients and this is not only improving the quality of care we can provide, it also is reaping benefits such as time saving across the department.”

Joanna Wallett, Head of Clinical Pharmacy services told how the new system is also helping to support patient safety. “It is helping to identify problems such as delays in the discharge system due to the increased visibility we have now - a benefit we didn’t anticipate. We’re getting better information about changes to medication out to our colleagues in community pharmacy as they now also get discharge information.

"This takes patient safety around changes to medication beyond our acute setting, helping to reduce readmissions and visits to the accident and emergency department.”

Pharmacy technicians Claire Curry and Louise Innes also welcome the new referral system. Previously they contacted community pharmacists through faxes and telephone calls. The new referral system is now done through one contact channel, taking around two minutes per process rather than six. This is saving an average of around three hours a week both for the Trust and for the community pharmacy.

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