National award for Northamptonshire health initiative to save money and waste with prescription drugs

Holding the PrescQIPP award, Sue Smith, head of prescribing and medicines management, NHS Nene and NHS Corby CCG and her team
Holding the PrescQIPP award, Sue Smith, head of prescribing and medicines management, NHS Nene and NHS Corby CCG and her team

An innovative pilot training initiative which has helped patients in Northamptonshire to make the most of their medicines has picked up a national award.

NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Corby CCG scooped the award in the clever commissioning category at the 2015 PrescQIPP Innovation Awards.

Improved safety, significant cost savings and waste reduction have now been achieved by the CCGs through more efficient management of repeat prescribing and other medicines related processes within GP practices.

Repeat prescription clerks, who undertake a critical role in terms of patient safety, quality and cost-effectiveness of repeat prescribing, received bespoke training sessions, written and delivered by the CCGs’ medicines management team to become practice medicines co-ordinators (PMCs).

The PMCs have been upskilled to ensure that good repeat prescribing systems are maintained to deliver high quality, cost-effective prescribing and reduce medicines waste.

The pilot within participating practices has delivered quality, safety and cost improvements.

These include growth in prescribing costs in GP practices with a trained PMC reduced by the equivalent of £347,000 compared to practices without a PMC, waste collected by pharmacies across Northamptonshire in 2013/2014 reduced by £570,000, and PMCs identified safety issues such as patients over-ordering inhalers for asthma and sprays for angina and under-ordering medicines to reduce cholesterol and control blood pressure

The training sessions are being repeated during 2015 and due to the benefits seen in the pilot, all practices in the CCGs are now participating.

Dr Darin Seiger, GP chairman of NHS Nene CCG, said: “Significant successes have been achieved in improving the safety and accuracy of repeat prescribing for patients and the over and under use of medicines has also been successfully highlighted.

“Growth in prescribing costs in participating practices reduced by the equivalent of £347,000.

“By making these cost efficiencies, it will allow us to invest in other areas to deliver the best possible health services to our population.”

Dr Joanne Watt, GP chairman of NHS Corby CCG, added: “We are delighted to receive this national recognition for improving medicine safety for patients and helping to reduce the costs of prescribing in GP practices.

“Our successful pilot was recognised by the judges as a great project that demonstrated innovative ways to improve medicines related outcomes with practices and local providers.”

The PrescQIPP awards were started in 2013 as an incentive for CCGs to share best practice across the country.