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EAHP discuss hospital pharmacists and patient safety

The European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, in coordination with the hospital pharmacy section of the Pharmaceutical Association of Serbia, has welcomed in Belgrade, Serbia, 44 head pharmacists coming from 14 different Eastern European countries to the annual EAHP Academy Seminar, 20–22 May 2011.

This year topic has focused on “Hospital pharmacists as part of the therapeutic drug committee” and “Patient Safety: The role of hospital pharmacists in risk management”. Through the presentations and workshops given by Professor Dr David Gerrett, United Kingdom, and Dr Gunar Stemer, Austria, the participants have had the opportunity to learn and network with colleagues from other countries about key aspects of their profession.

Hospital pharmacists as part of the therapeutic drug committee
In most of the European countries ‘drugs and therapeutic committees’ are mandated either through regulation or best practice guidance. The involvement of the hospital pharmacist as member of the committee is different in various countries. Often the hospital pharmacist’s role is as the secretary of this committee.

In reality hospital pharmacists are doing analyses on consumption, evaluating the outcome of clinical trials and give proposals for the introduction of new medicines or choice between medicines where there are several from the same class.

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This work supports the creation of guidelines that improve access to medicines that can have a positive clinical outcome for the patient.

Patient Safety: The role of hospital pharmacists in risk management
As well as offering benefits, the use of medicines brings with it risks. Those risks can arise through adverse reactions but more frequently they arise because of system failures at stages within the medicines use process.

There are generic tools available to help recognise, investigate and then find, implement and test solutions to avoid future failures. These tools are applicable across many different industries and are collectively known as ‘risk management’.

The seminar outlined how risk management can be applied to pharmacy practice in the hospital setting and in particular to developing systems that improve medication safety.

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