NHS Direct’s Evelina Children’s Hospital information prescription pilot project has been awarded the 2008 Ask About Medicines Award for ‘Excellence in improving communication between healthcare professionals and patients or medicine users’.
The Evelina Children’s Hospital project was designed to start changing the situation of a lack of information around medicines prescribed to children, and to test a system that could be used on a national basis.
During the pilot medicine prescriptions were used to trigger the offer of an information prescription from the children’s hospital and five community pharmacies across the country. Parents completed a simple tick-box information prescription request with the pharmacist.
Parents could request information about their child’s condition, support groups available, the medicines action, adverse effects, what to do if the child experiences adverse effects, what to do if they miss a dose and what to do if the condition deteriorates.
Requests were faxed or emailed to NHS Direct who then compiled information against the request and delivered it to parents via email or post, within 24-48 hours.
Anne Joshua, NHS Direct associate director of pharmacy, said: “The project demonstrated an easy way for pharmacists to provide a personalised information prescription directly in the format of choice for parents caring for young children.
“The feedback from parents was that the service provided valuable support and reassurance about medicines at a time when sometimes there is too much information and it is difficult to find what is important for your child.”
NHS Direct says that currently little written information aimed at children, their parents or their carers, about use of medicines in children exists and the information that does exist has often been developed in-house with no standardisation or quality assurance. Patient information leaflets (PILs) that come with every dispensed medicine seldom relate to use of the medicine in children, they add.
The Department of Health has now specified that accredited health and medicine information – information prescriptions – must be available to patients by the end of 2008, covering all types of people.