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Professor Tony Avery and the research team at the University of Nottingham were chosen as the regional winners in the The Excellence in Primary Care Award category of the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards. They are part of the shortlist for the national award.

The quality of the nominations we received has been outstanding and our panel of regional shortlisting teams had a tough choice choosing from the near 800 nominations submitted, so you can already be incredibly proud of making the official shortlist! 
- NHS70 Parliamentary Awards team

The award is based on work in patient safety, some of which was funded by the School.  The awards were established to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS. School members Tony and Dr Sarah Rodgers will receive the award at the national awards ceremony in Parliament on 4 July.

Q. The nomination form asked about how the research has had an impact on improvements made to primary care.

A. For the last 20 years the team have developed ways of making improvements to the safety of prescribing medicines in primary care. This has included:

  • Identifying errors in the prescribing of medicines in general practice and then having a pharmacist work with the general practice to make improvements to patient safety. In a large-scale study published in the Lancet the team showed that this approach (called PINCER) can reduce hazardous prescribing by up to 50% (see box 2 for further evidence).
  • Incorporation of the team’s ‘prescribing safety indicators’ into the software of GP computer system suppliers so that prescribing errors can be avoided.
  • Identifying the frequency, nature and causes of prescribing errors in general practice, and from this evidence the team has:
  • Worked with the Royal College of General Practitioners to improve training on safe prescribing, and give greater emphasis to safe prescribing in the qualifying exam for GPs.
  • Produced e-learning materials for GPs.
  • Developing a Patient Safety Toolkit for general practitioners which is available online on the Royal College of General Practitioners website and has been accessed over 10,000 times since 2015.
  • The reasons for success include the passion that the team have for patient safety; the rigorous way in which they ensure that the improvements are based on evidence, and the way that the team has worked with professional colleagues and patients in bringing about positive change.

They were also asked to detail how improvements can be sustained and/or developed further or shared with others locally, regionally or nationally to benefit more patients or staff.

The evidence outlined above shows that the improvements have already had an impact locally, regionally and nationally. In the near future, the greatest benefit is going to be seen in relation to further rollout of the PINCER prescribing safety intervention.

In 2017, a Short Life Working Group was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health to respond to the World Health Organisation challenge to reduce serious harm from medication errors. One of the main recommendations from this Group is for a national roll-out of the PINCER intervention. This has been endorsed by all of the Academic Health Science Networks throughout the country, and the Regional Medicines Optimisation leads. At the time of writing, plans are in place for a roll-out that will benefit patients throughout the country.

Press release from University of Nottingham

A Patient Safety Toolkit for general practice

Stephen Campbell

 15 March 2018