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Published on 6 November 2014

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Centre for Pharmacy Innovation: a first for pharmacy in the UK

The Centre for Pharmacy Innovation is a tripartite research collaboration between the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and LloydsPharmacy, and is the first of its kind in the UK.

The Centre for Pharmacy Innovation is a tripartite research collaboration between the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and LloydsPharmacy, and is the first of its kind in the UK.

The Centre will be housed in the LJMU School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences and the collaboration’s first stream of research will study the transfer of pharmacy care between hospitals and the community at the admission and discharge stages. Its conclusions will be used to enhance the role of pharmacy and improve the quality of medicines management for patients, decrease medicines waste, and maximise clinical input.

With an enhanced role for the community pharmacist in the transition process, there are opportunities to change the current system to help improve the quality of care provided and save the NHS money. Specifically, the research aims to determine an innovative hospital discharge prescribing process that provides safe, quality and effective transfer for patients from secondary to community care. The new model will be piloted and evaluated with the objective of directing future processes in hospitals and pharmacies across the UK.

Focusing on clinical pharmacy practice research, the project will also support the development of a post-graduate education and training programme to better equip community pharmacy teams with the skills to advise patients about their health – from minor ailments to diabetes and asthma control – providing a resource for the wider NHS community and pharmacy profession.

The collaboration arose from the successful partnership established in 2009 between the Trust and LloydsPharmacy to provide hospital outpatient dispensing. The benefit of joint working to improve patient care became the driving force in working with the university to research additional ways of working together.

LJMU has granted Alison Ewing, Clinical Director of Pharmacy at the Trust, a chair in Pharmacy Innovation to direct the work streams together with Professor Charles Morecroft, Professor of Pharmacy Education and Professional Practice at LJMU’s Faculty of Science. A programme board comprising members from all three organisations will oversee the work and source additional funding for further research. Alison Ewing, Charles Morecroft and Andrew Willetts are the Board members from the three organisations.

Professor Ewing is delighted that the joined up approach is being taken to address inefficiencies in the current system. She commented: “We want the Centre to encourage and inspire pharmacists to take part in research and hope to design and deliver a new postgraduate diploma programme to advance community practice. This is the current priority for Health Education England and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which will be required if healthcare services are to be more aligned and interconnected to improve the quality of patient care.

Professor Morecroft, added: “There have been numerous attempts to improve aspects of the discharge process for medicines in the UK, however these have not made any sustainable difference to patient safety or quality of care. We are delighted to conduct this pioneering research with LloydsPharmacy and RLBUHT.

Our first PhD student is in place and is working on a project entitled “Investigating “Models of Care in the NHS: Patient transfer to primary care on discharge from hospital.” The project aims to determine an innovative hospital medication discharge process, which provides safe, quality and effective transfer for patients from secondary to community care. This will involve a mixed methods approach.

Andrew Willetts, Healthcare Solutions Director leading the project on behalf of LloydsPharmacy, said: “With pressure on the NHS continuing to rise and patient safety increasingly important, there is an opportunity for pharmacy to alleviate this pressure by providing hospitals with an approved clinical pathway. It is exciting that through this research, we have the opportunity to improve the continuity of care after hospital discharge and change the face and quality of healthcare forever.”

This project is just one way in which we are driving innovation within the healthcare sector. We are incredibly proud that our partnerships between the NHS and LloydsPharmacy branches across the UK allow us to understand community healthcare in a way that helps to shape positive improvements. We see this first research project as a starting point in a long future of creating academic partnerships that will drive excellence in healthcare.



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