Last updated: 15.09.14

Virtual College’s and NHS England launch online course ‘Omitted and Delayed Medicines in Hospitals

Medicine doses are often omitted or delayed in hospital, in some circumstances this can cause serious harm or death for critical medicines or conditions.Advice about FGM is already issued to frontline health workers but the Home Office is championing a more proactive approach after successfully bidding for €300,000 of European Union funding. A Patient Safety Alert issued by the National Patient Safety Agency in 2010 detailed the scale of the problem. Between September 2006 and June 2009, the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) received reports of 27 deaths, 68 severe harms and 21,383 other patient safety incidents relating to omitted or delayed medicines. Reports of this type remain the largest category of medication incident reports received by the NRLS.The Francis Enquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust also recognised omitted and delayed medicines as an important risk, and national reports following the enquiry recommend that NHS staff take action to minimise risks to patients. To help mitigate these risks, online training provider, Virtual College has worked closely with NHS England’s Safe Medication Practice Team to develop their latest patient safety online course, ‘Omitted and Delayed Medicines in Hospitals’. The course is aimed at all health professionals who prescribe, dispense, review, supply or administer medicines in hospitals. Prescriber, pharmacist and nurse characters are used to guide learners through the course which demonstrates an increased awareness of the frequency and types of reported incidents and harms that arise from omitted and delayed medicine doses in hospital. The course looks at a number of scenarios such as patient refusal of critical medicine, medicines not available or if a patient is awaiting a definitive review. It also includes examples of good practice, demonstrating what you should look at and focus on as a prescriber of medicines. The course has been developed by Virtual College in association with subject matter experts from: NHS England, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, East and South East Specialist Pharmacy Services and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The content of the course has been independently certified as conforming to universally accepted Continuous Professional Development (CPD) guidelines and, depending on the speed of the learner, should take approximately 45 minutes to an hour to complete. ’Omitted and Delayed Medicines in Hospitals’ will be available as part of the subscription based National Patient Safety Training Suite which is already utilised by over 70 organisations. It can also be purchased as an individual course. The addition of ‘Omitted and Delayed Medicines in Hospitals’ will take the total number of courses in The National Patient Safety Suite to eight. A further five safety courses are due for release throughout the course of the year, taking the total number to 13. Subscription to the suite is based on 12 months unlimited training access for all staff, to all of the available courses. Different options are available for individuals, small, medium and large organisations.