By BRIAN MOORE
THE Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has identified what it described as potentially a ‘serious risk to the health and welfare of patients’ at Bantry General Hospital (BGH).
While the HIQA report outlined a number of concerns with the medication safety procedures at Bantry, the inspectors identified what they said was an ‘immediate high risk’ problem with the intravenous medication procedure in operation at the hospital.
This procedure, the report stated, was not formally approved for use at the West Cork hospital. In fact, the medication guidance document and process was designed for use only at Cork University Hospital. The lack of a formal medication safety audit and assurance programme was also outlined as a major cause for concern at the hospital.
However, a spokesperson for the Health Service Authority told The Southern Star that a number of good practices were also identified during the inspection – ‘including processes implemented to promote medication safety, the ready access for healthcare professionals to patient information relevant to the safe use of medications at the point of decision making, and the high level of supervision and support available for non-consultant hospital doctors around prescribing and advice.’
HIQA inspectors said a formal accounting of medicines prescribed to a patient before attending hospital was not routinely reconciled with a patient’s medication history at admission to hospital, if they are transferred, or when they are discharged on the medication chart.
Another area of concern highlighted in the report was the lack of a formalised administration structure for medication safety at BGH. It had been recommended by HIQA in 2013 that Drugs and Therapeutics committees be set up to deal with the governance surrounding the area of medication safety. However, inspectors were informed that the hospital’s Quality and Safety Committee took on this role.
A spokesperson for the hospital stated that following the HIQA inspection and report, changes to the medication safety procedures at the hospital have been implemented.
‘BGH can confirm the following changes have since been implemented: A clinical and pharmacy representative from BGH has joined the CUH Drugs and Therapeutics Committee in line with the Governance structures of the CUH Group. BGH has commenced the process of establishing a local sub group, which will link into the Drugs and Therapeutics Committee in CUH through their nominated representatives. In particular there will be an alignment in respect of the development of Protocols, Procedures ad Guidelines governing medication safety,’ the spokesperson said.
BGH have also confirmed that a senior pharmacist has started work at the hospital this week. It added: ‘The appointment of a Quality and Risk Manager has been approved and the documentation has been submitted to the NRS. The closing date for the competition was Friday February 24th.’