Spotlight on: the NaNOC Orthopaedic Pharmacy Team

Rarely seen across the country, the trauma and orthopaedic department includes an eight-strong pharmacy team, made up of prescribing pharmacist practitioners and pharmacy technicians.

Now the team has come to the attention of the national Chief Pharmaceutical Officer David Webb, who is meeting them today (Thursday 20 October) on his visit to the East of England.

David Webb was joined by colleagues from NHS England, Liz Fidler, Senior Professional Advisor Pharmacy Technician Practice and Jagjot Chahal, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Lead Pharmacist at Barts Health Centre.

The team works closely alongside a large MDT team of nurse practitioners, doctors, surgical care practitioners, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, health care assistants and other ward staff, as well as maintaining close links with the hospital pharmacy department. This means they are often able to troubleshoot and solve medication related enquiries on the ward or in pre-operative assessment quickly and efficiently, in turn benefitting patient satisfaction and flow through the hospital.

Lead Orthopaedic Pharmacist Amy Benterman is joined by pharmacists Georgia Cleveland, Emma Wilson, Emma Davies, Alice King and Margo Hollamby, as well as pharmacy technicians Shona George and Julie Gardner.

“I love this team, we work really well together, we are constantly looking at new processes to further improve and I know every single one of the team goes above and beyond to make the patient experience with us as good as it can be,” said Amy, who will support the pharmacy service in our new Norfolk and Norwich Orthopaedic Centre (NaNOC). Clinicians for the stand-alone unit are in the process of bringing together an extensive team which provides a bespoke service for the patient.

The team includes pharmacist independent prescribers who ensure patients have their regular medications prescribed on admission and help support safe and timely prescribing of discharge medications. With the new unit they are hoping to prepare a first draft on the patient’s admission by planning the medications they may need post procedure using the information from the patient’s pre-op assessment. “This is a much better way for patients as it reduces risk for them when they are here, and it can reduce the time they wait to go home”. The new unit will have its own satellite dispensary which will also help to speed up the discharge process. “We are a constant for patients during their time with us. We speak to them before they come in, on a virtual appointment and when they are admitted. We provide a familiar face.” They also help support pain reviews for post-op patients and during ward rounds where alterations can be made to medications, enhancing patient care.

Pharmacy technicians have a vital role in ensuring this can happen and is a new role within orthopaedics. They help to ensure correct medications are prescribed for patients by completing medication histories within 24hrs hours of admission and pass this information on to the surgical team.

They also help support the supply of medications, meaning medications can be supplied quickly and helps to avoid missed doses of medications. It also means patients can be discharged in a timely manner. With time and the opening of NaNOC, the team hopes to expand the role of the technicians to focus on more clinical aspects within orthopaedics, especially within pre op assessment. Currently the team helps to ensure patients’ medication is correct and optimised around surgery, as well as making sure they have enough medication for their time in hospital.

Training and development are also of huge importance to the team. A training pack for rotational technicians who provide a discharge role for the orthopaedic wards from the main pharmacy department has been produced. The training pack will help the rotational technicians to develop their skills and knowledge during their time in orthopaedics which will then enable them to take these skills forward to help support other areas in the trust in providing a patient focused role. Shona said: “It is great for us to be able to do this as it helps with our own development. It has also given us lots of ideas of how to expand the technician role and we are excited for the future”.

Amy added: “We are always assessing the service we give and looking at ways we can improve. We have a vision of where we want to be and how we’re going to get there but we have a way to go.

“Pharmacy is often seen as a working in the background, we hope to show what pharmacy can do and hopefully promote the role that we have within the trust and the positive impact we have on patient care”.

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