Almost 200 medication safety incidents at Letterkenny hospital in six months

Medication safety at a number of hospitals has been criticised in a series of inspection reports published by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).

Hiqa inspectors who visited Letterkenny University Hospital found an absence of clear direction or overarching plans for medication safety, with limited implementation of quality improvements since previous inspections.

Their report is critical of a “sustained lack of clinical pharmacy services in high-risk areas such as maternity and paediatric units”.

There is “limited” locally developed or adapted information to guide clinical staff in the safe use of medicines, it says.

A total of 222 medication safety incidents was reported at the hospital last year, and 197 in the first half of this year. Despite this increase, the report says there is still evidence of underreporting of such incidents.

A separate inspection of University Hospital Limerick found an ongoing lack of clinical pharmacy services at the hospital, a relative lack of access to information to guide clinical staff in the safe use of medicines and disparities in the implementation of medication safety measures.

‘Matter of urgency’

Hiqa has told the hospital these risks must be mitigated and managed “as a matter of urgency”.

“The hospital must focus its efforts to address the risks and findings identified to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place to protect patients from the risk of medication-related harm.”

At Cork University Hospital, an inspection report found current arrangements for evaluating medication safety systems should be strengthened and formalised to provide greater assurance about medication safety.

“Overall, Hiqa found that systems, processes and practices were in place to support medication safety, some of which were in the process of implementation,” the report said.

A report on Temple Street University Children’s Hospital praised staff for a significant increase in medication safety incident reporting “which reflected the emphasis placed by managers and the willingness of front-line staff to provide information to reduce the risk of reoccurring harm to patients”.

© The Irish Times

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