Pharmacist shortlisted in national awards

Pharmacist Kirsty Matthews

A quality improvement (QI) project that centred on making sure patients had the right medicines to help them and keep patients safe, has been shortlisted in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Awards 2021.

Work on the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) project started after NHS England and Improvement asked community health services and GPs nationally if they could give greater support to care homes, to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So the service carried out medication reviews for patients who left hospital and went to a care home and the project started to set up a new rapid transfer of care pharmacy service in east Kent.

The pilot service, which ran for several months last year, was led by Kirsty Matthews, Medicines Optimisation in Care Homes Pharmacist with Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group. At the time, Kirsty was on secondment with Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Rapid Transfer of Care Service, to develop the project. Kirsty has recently moved over to KCHFT’s Frailty Team, where she is continuing to look at pharmacy services in the community.

Kirsty has been shortlisted for the Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation Award.

She said: “It is really important people have the right medicine. There can be a high risk of harm with combinations of medicines if they are not correct and many of these patients are taking multiple medications.

“If a patient has been in hospital and is then going to a care home, their health and their needs might have changed since before their admission. Also, they could be transferred to a different area, they could be new to the GP who is going to look after them or they could be temporarily registered with a new GP, who doesn’t know them or their history.

“Immediately following a hospital admission, patients are vulnerable. There might have been issues relating to their transfers of care and the GP responsible for their care might not be aware the patient has been discharged. This is where the reviews can help, as we contact all involved organisations to look into the patient’s history and gather this information for GPs, to make sure the patient gets the right medicines and care.”

All patients should have a review and care plan produced within one week of discharge from hospital.

The pilot service helped with this. It carried out pharmacist reviews of patients discharged from hospital, helping to highlight medications which need to be reviewed. The service also assisted in highlighting the discharge of a patient to a GP.

The HSJ Value Awards celebrate projects and teams driving operational, financial, and clinical improvements across the health system. These innovations and new ways of working are fundamental to the continued fight against COVID-19 and full service restoration. 

Winners will be announced in June.

It’s the second year running that colleagues from KCHFT have been shortlisted. Last year Complex Care Nurse Claire Knight and Head of Adult and Community Services Stephanie Rhodes made the finals, with a rough sleeper QI project, which aimed to improve the health and wellbeing of homeless people.

Find out more about Kirsty’s project here and see more on the rough sleeper project here