Medication safety procedures found to be tops in Tallaght Hospital

By Mary Dennehy

HOSPITALS nationwide have been encouraged to review the medication safety procedures in place at Tallaght Hospital, after the local health facility this week received a glowing report following a recent HIQA inspection.

In May of this year, HIQA [Health Information and Quality Authority] conducted an inspection into the medication safety at Tallaght Hospital, with the visit being part of a nationwide investigation that strives to improve patient safety when it comes to medication usage in public hospitals.

Tallaght hospital 9

According to Aoife Lenihan, lead HIQA inspector on the medication safety monitoring programme: “Medication safety has been identified by a number of bodies in Ireland as a key focus for improvement and it is estimated that on average, at least one medication error per hospital patient occurs each day.

“This means that there could be up to three million medication errors in Irish public hospitals per year.”

This week, the results for Tallaght Hospital and University Hospital Limerick were released by HIQA, which found a “long-established medication safety programme” in place at Tallaght.

In its summary of results, HIQA said that Tallaght Hospital’s Drugs and Therapeutics Committee had initiated “multiple proactive measures” to enhance medication safety and support prescribers – such as the introduction of a team-based medication reconciliation programme to improve care and reduce the rate of serious adverse medication events.

HIQA inspectors also found that the hospital had successfully implemented a number of quality improvement initiatives to reduce medication errors, with a medication safety plan with clear defined goals in place for 2017.

According to HIQA: “Overall, this inspection found a significant amount of innovative practices that enhanced medication safety and that would be of value for other hospitals to review.

“However, notwithstanding the good medication safety practices observed in adult services, inspectors found that the medication safety programme needed to be further enhanced among paediatric services following this inspection as they do not reach the standards of the adult services.”

In a statement to The Echo, a spokeswoman for Tallaght Hospital said: “Tallaght Hospital welcomes the findings of HIQA, which followed an announced inspection of Tallaght Hospital.

“HIQA found that the hospital had a long-established medication safety programme in place, which was supported by effective governance and oversight of medication safety in the adult services.

“Overall, the inspection found a significant amount of innovative practice that enhanced medication safety and that would be of value for other hospitals to review.”

When asked about plans to transfer practices to paediatric services, the spokeswoman said: “The hospital has reviewed the report in full and will continue to further implement medication safety activities with particular attention to our paediatric services.

“Since receipt of this report an audit of medicines information on display in the paediatric wards has been carried out and the audit results are currently being reviewed prior to the necessary updates being rolled out.”

At the University Hospital Limerick, a “wide range of medication safety-related risks” were identified, which have been communicated to hospital management in writing.

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