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MEDICATION & RESEARCH


Efficiency for Emergencies


Karen Kelsey, Senior Clinical Matron, Emergency Care, at North Tees Hospital, discusses how new technology is changing the face of medication management in A&E, EAU and ambulatory care departments.


Effective management of medication in Emergency Care is paramount. We need to get the right drug to the right patient, on time, every time. Managing stock levels is key to that and yet traditional, old-fashioned ‘drug cupboards’ - which can result in delays in getting medication and missed doses - are still being used in many hospitals.


Just under five years ago, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust decided to look into automated medication technology systems with a view to replacing our old emergency ward drug cupboards. A significant amount of pharmacy time was being absorbed, with manual stock-takes required every couple of days, and nurses on the ward couldn’t always access the right medication needed for patients, resulting in vital treatment delays. It was a big frustration for us as nurses as it impacted on patient care delivery. There is no sugar-coating the


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issue, these unnecessary delays in accessing medication can have a long-term impact on a patient’s recovery and it affects the very heart of our promise to deliver effective care to all.


Keys were another major issue. Authorised staff were responsible for the drug cupboard keys and nurses wasted endless time searching for the people who had hold of the keys. Again, this valuable time could have been better spent on face- to-face patient care. Unsurprisingly, we even had times when nurses accidentally took the drug cupboard keys home aſter a busy and stressful shiſt.


Omnicell automated medication dispensing cabinets were the stand out solution for the hospital as they were easy to implement, allowed frontline staff to clearly see the medication they needed and ensured that it was stored safely and securely. Stock is now managed by the Omnicell cabinets, making it


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