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Society Agrees With Commissioner On Med Mix-Up

Health and Disability Commissioner's report on medication mix-up at Palmerston North Hospital

The President of the Pharmaceutical Society Mr Chris Budgen today agreed with the Health and Disability Commissioner that having a clinical pharmacist available on hospital ward rounds is one of the most effective ways of decreasing medication errors.

Hospital pharmacist Melissa Witbrock, President of the NZ Healthcare Pharmacists' Association agreed, adding that having clinical pharmacists as an integral part of the healthcare team recognises their medicines management skills, which contribute to patients' safety in hospitals and in the community.

In the Palmerston North Hospital incident the Commissioner commented that had a pharmacist been called to see the patient and review her drug chart, the error could have been identified sooner.

"Pharmacists are too often under-recognised and under-utilised and should be used more widely", Mr Budgen said. Pharmacists are trained to evaluate patients' medication so as to optimise their medicines-related health outcomes. They are particularly skilled in the quality use of medicines and, within the team environment, can reduce medication errors and adverse events in hospitals and across the primary-secondary healthcare interface.

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