January 30, 2015, by Lindsay Brooke
£600,000 initiative will help save lives across the East Midlands
A ground-breaking project to reduce the risk of patients being prescribed the wrong medication is set to be rolled out across 150 East Midlands GP practices. Thousands of people across the East Midlands – including elderly and vulnerable patients – will benefit from the initiative, called ‘PINCER’.
‘PINCER’ stands for Pharmacist-led INformation technology intervention for reducing Clinically important ERrors in medication management. The initiative will be rolled out over the next two years to 150 GP practices.
Professor Tony Avery, Director of Research at the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine, said: “Medication errors often lead to considerable risk of harm to patients and increase the number of unnecessary admissions to hospital, placing extra pressure on services. The East Midlands has an excellent track record of leading innovation in health care, and the PINCER project will further build the region’s reputation for placing the needs of patients at the very heart of health service transformation.”
The project is led by Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust supported by the University of Lincoln, University of Nottingham, the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network and 17 of the region’s Clinical Commissioning Groups.
The partnership received a major boost with the announcement of a £500,000 funding award from the Health Foundation with a further £117,000 already pledged by the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network.
The East Midlands project is one of just seven to receive support from the Health Foundation’s ‘Scaling Up Improvement’ award out of 150 applications nationally. With the funding now in place, the first stage between January and June 2015 will focus on getting PINCER ready to be implemented in waves across the East Midlands, starting from July.
PINCER provides each GP practice with access to a software system that automatically reviews existing prescriptions, and also offers expert support from a pharmacist.
The pharmacists will work with the practice staff to review the way drugs are prescribed, reducing the risk that patients, particularly people with a number of conditions who need a combination of different drugs, receive the wrong medication. Pharmacists and GPs will share learning as part of the project, and it is also hoped to spread PINCER more widely across the country.
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