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Medicines management project wins national patient safety and care award

Mr Stephen Tomlin, Honorary Clinical Reader (GSTT) and colleagues from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, have received a national patient safety and care award in the category of ‘Improving Safety in Medicines Management’ during an event held by the Health Service Journal and Nursing Times.

The awards event, which took place on 15 July 2014 in central London, was held to recognise and celebrate healthcare staff who have created or contributed to excellent healthcare initiatives that have made care safer and better quality for their patients and service users.

Opiate infusions are essential therapy for children with severe pain, but have been associated with serious medication errors. These infusions require complex dose calculations, multiple manipulations and complicated administration rate adjustments. The winning project team aimed to minimise the risk of medication errors in one of the most challenging settings: nurse- or patient-controlled analgesia (N/PCA) for children. 

The project team, Mr Stephen Tomlin, Dr Asia Rashed (lead researcher), Dr Cate Whittlesea, Dr Ben Forbes, and Ms Sara Arenas-Lopez, developed special syringes that contain standard concentrations of pain relief for different weights so staff can quickly and easily choose the right syringe for each patient. The solution is given to the child using pre-programmed safety pumps that deliver the pain relief over time. It is the only known system of its kind in the world.