6 November 2019
Wessex AHSN, in partnership with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), has won a prestigious HSJ Award at this year's ceremony.
Our work on the National Polypharmacy Prescribing Comparators won the Patient Safety category.
The comparators help Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and General Practices identify patients most likely to be exposed to the risks associated with taking multiple medicines or certain combinations of medicines.
Clare Howard, national medicines clinical lead, said: "I am absolutely delighted that this work, which was a collaboration between GPs, pharmacists and the analyst at NHSBSA, has been recognised.
"We have case studies showing that places like north east Hampshire and Farnham, who used the polypharmacy comparators tool to best effect, have reduced inappropriate polypharmacy in their older patients.
"We hope that this award will lead to more CCGs, PCNs and GP practices using to tool to identify, and review their patients who may be at risk from harm from multiple medicines taking."
Nina Monckton, Chief Insight Officer at NHS Business Services Authority said: “We’re proud to have partnered with Wessex AHSN in this important work, which will make a great difference to patient safety.
"As our population is aging, polypharmacy has, in particular, become a greater risk factor for poor outcomes in elderly patients who are more likely to take multiple medications. Now, using NHSBSA National Polypharmacy Prescribing Comparators, positive results for patients are already being seen."
The AHSN is leading the way in using existing national prescribing data to tackle problematic polypharmacy.
Patients on 10 or more medicines are over three times more likely to be admitted to hospital. 70% of hospital admissions for adverse drug reactions could be avoided if problematic polypharmacy is addressed, so the use of this dataset is now central to clinicians trying to address polypharmacy and benefit the patients at greatest risk.
We led the work programme with the NHS Business Services Authority, and experts from around the country to link the NHS Number to the medicines prescribed, creating the first national polypharmacy dataset in England. Using this data set, GP practices and CCGs can compare different indicators of polypharmacy on a national scale as well as local, supporting NHS England in its contribution to the WHO global challenge to address polypharmacy as a major cause of medication errors.
These comparisons enable clinicians to identify patients most at risk from adverse effects of polypharmacy. Since their launch, Wessex AHSN has worked with local stakeholders to support meaningful use of the NHS BSA Polypharmacy Prescribing Comparators. In North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG, GPs, Clinical Pharmacists and the Medicines Management Team including the Care Homes Pharmacist have used the comparators to undertake 800 medication reviews and 250 interventions to reduce the average number of medicines per patient from 9.4 to 7.6.