Initiative on medicines to help patients

A new campaign is encouraging patients in hospital to ask questions of any new medication they are given before they leave.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘Keep calm and ask’ initiative is also aimed at the family members of patients.

The campaign is being rolled out across its hospitals, including the new emergency care facility near Cramlington, following feedback from patients that they are sometimes unclear and confused about the new medication they receive when in hospital.

Posters about the campaign are to be displayed next to patients’ bedsides, in ward areas and in waiting areas, with postcard-sized booklets also handed to patients.

David Campbell, chief pharmacist at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Medication plays a vital role in helping our patients to get better sooner and it’s absolutely essential that they understand the medicines they are taking.

“This is particularly important if patients are being started on new medicines in hospital that they will continue to take when they go home.

“They need to be clear about the purpose of any new medicines, be aware of any side effects to watch out for and what to do if they experience those, and know how to safely take them.”

“It would really help us if patients brought with them all the medications they are taking when they come into hospital, along with their repeat prescription sheet from their GP, to help us build up a clear picture.”

Rosemary Stephenson, director of nursing at Northumbria Healthcare, added that relatives or carers are welcome to put their questions to clinical staff.

For information about the campaign, visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk