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Carlisle NHS initiative win highest accolade for keeping mental health patients safe

HSJ patient safety award winners

An initiative delivered through a partnership between Carlisle’s community mental health team, pharmacy and other trust teams has won a national award for keeping patients safe.

The Health Service Journal Patient Safety Awards have announced that Carlisle Clozapine clinic team have won the Improving Safety in Medicines Management Award.

In 2017 an alert was raised by the Trust’s pharmacy supplier that prescriptions for the clinics supplying Clozapine (an antipsychotic drug) to patients were sometimes inaccurate on presentation to pharmacy, and an audit showed a lack of physical health checks being carried out.

The trust medical director commissioned a four day rapid process improvement workshop. Run by the Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative, it was attended by staff in primary care and community pharmacy as well as those within the trust, and by a patient and carer.

Now mental health patients attending the clinic are each given physical health checks and 100% of prescriptions are accurate with no delays.

Helen Huck, Chief Pharmacist at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “I am delighted that all the commitment, perseverance and team work of those who contributed to this initiative has been recognised in this award. The initiative has improved the safety of medicines for a vulnerable group of patients. It has changed practice, improved processes and created efficiencies. My congratulations and sincere thanks go to all involved.”

Jo Johnston Senior Network Manager Community Mental Health and Recovery Team (CMHART) said: “We are very pleased to win the award and extremely proud of all the staff from different teams who have worked hard both directly and indirectly to make this service improvement . We also had help from service users and carers along the way and it shows the power of working together to get things done.”

“We have improved the safety, continuity and consistency for people with in our service and this will also improve their outcomes and experience. It is a fact that for those with mental health conditions life expectancy can decrease by up to 20 years, the physical health checks and health promotion will go a long way to ensuring that issues are flagged and dealt with earlier. It is a testament to all those involved that we now have national recognition for this work.”

A spokesperson from the HSJ said: “The judges felt that this was an exemplary piece of work that demonstrates why these awards are important to show case and raise the profile of the work they are doing. A fantastic piece of work that showed evidence of far reaching benefits and improvements for patients. The judges were very impressed with the high standards of entries, testifying to the clear achievement Cumbria Partnership Foundation has made in being declared winners of the Improving Safety in Medicines Management Award.”

Staff from many teams including assistant practitioners, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy (Trust and external contract), medical, IT, secretarial, governance, improvement, audit, acute trust and primary care came together with carers and patient representatives, in the initial project and over the following months to develop and progress this work.

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