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Medicines safety in NHS trusts

16 November 2021
  • Public

Medicines safety is a priority for CQC and it is a crucial aspect of the wider medicines’ safety agenda.

This month’s Insight report looks at medication safety in NHS trusts, focusing on the role of medication safety officers (MSOs).

It is based on a review of medication safety in 95% of England’s NHS trusts, carried out between May and July 2021, using discussions with MSOs, and pharmacy and trust leaders in acute, community, mental health and ambulance NHS trusts.

All NHS trusts we spoke with had a named MSO and, overall, they told us they help make the use of medicines safer.

Most MSOs said they were listened to and were able to escalate medicines concerns effectively through trust governance systems.

Engagement with front line staff and good visibility of the MSO provided valuable learning opportunities and a means to improve the medicines safety culture.

Some areas had good, regular local network meetings, to promote more effective local system working and sharing of learning on medicines safety. Attendance included, not only NHS trusts, but also schools of pharmacy, clinical commissioning group colleagues and other medicines leads from the area. Less established local networks could result in a reactive approach, rather than a proactive medicines safety agenda.

Our regular data update also provides figures on the number of death notifications of people in care homes, as well as ONS data on all weekly deaths in England compared with the average for 2015-2019.

Last updated:
17 November 2021