Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new way of working with community pharmacists to help patients who have been discharged from hospital with their medicines.
Transfer of Care Around Medicines (TCAM) is a process that ensures patients who need support with their medications after leaving hospital, are supported by their community pharmacist.
This joined-up care means that patients have the support they may need in order to continue to take their medicines correctly, stay well, and avoid any re-admissions into hospital based on avoidable medication errors.
Nationally, it is estimated that 60 per cent of patients have three or more changes to their medicines during a hospital stay. This sometimes makes it difficult for patients to keep track of their new medicine routines once they are discharged from hospital, and they may not realise that they are taking their medicines incorrectly.
TCAM works by the hospital pharmacy team identifying patients who may benefit from closer contact with their community pharmacist and referring them to the patient’s chosen local pharmacy. The community pharmacist will then contact the patient to arrange for them to go in for a consultation, which could result in a number of different services or interventions being offered to support them.
Taryn Keyser, deputy chief pharmacist at Hampshire Hospitals, which runs Andover War Memorial Hospital, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, said: “We are incredibly excited to bring this collaborative way of working to our Trust, so that we can provide the best possible care and experience to our patients.
“Pharmacy is often seen as behind the scenes, but medicines are the most common intervention in healthcare and we see first-hand how our pharmacists make a difference to our patients. By working closely with our brilliant community pharmacy colleagues, we can ensure patients experience the best possible care, even when they leave hospital.”
Pharmacy staff are trained to identify patients who may need additional support with their medications and will be making the referrals to the community teams, but patients and family members are also being encouraged to talk to the hospital staff if they feel they would benefit from the TCAM process.
Debby Crockford, chief officer of Community Pharmacy South Central, which supports and represents over 350 community pharmacies in Hampshire and Isle of Wight, said: “We have seen elsewhere the positive difference the TCAM process can make, and all of our community pharmacists are welcoming this new way of working in the region.
“There is a great relationship between hospital and community pharmacies, and it is wonderful to see how TCAM will bring us even closer together to support the best possible outcomes for patients.”