“We want to work in partnership” – World Patient Safety Day and MedSIP

    September 14, 2023

    On World Patient Safety Day, we hear the latest from the Pan-London Medicines Safety Improvement Programme Team on their dedicated efforts to include patients in the heart of medicines safety.

    Key statistics

    • Around 15.5 million people in England (34% of the population) have chronic pain (Source: Public Health England (2020). Chronic pain in adults 2017: Health Survey for England. PHE, London)
    • Between January and October 2022, an average of 21,520 fewer people per month were prescribed oral or transdermal opioids (of any dose) for more than three months, compared with the baseline period of January 2021-December 2021 (Source: AHSN Network (2023). Supporting people to manage long-term pain without opioids)

    The theme of this year’s World Patient Safety Day is engaging patients for patient safety. Chronic pain affects every aspect of health and well-being beyond the physical pain; therefore, it is important to work in partnership with patients to find out how we can best support their individual needs.

    The Pan-London Medicines Safety Improvement Programmes (MedSIP) team have been working across England with the other 12 Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) hosted by Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) to improve chronic (non-cancer) pain management by reducing harm from opioids. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance states that opioids should not be used to manage chronic non-cancer pain as harm outweighs the benefit.

    Each London PSC has taken a different approach to engaging patients as key partners based on local needs for patient safety and opioid stewardship.

    Natasha Callender is a Senior Project Manager (Registered Pharmacist) and Medicines workstream lead from the Health Innovation Network (HIN), who led an experience-based co-design (EBCD) project, working with the HIN’s Involvement team and HIN Lived Experience Partners using the Point of Care Foundation methodology. Natasha commented on the project:

    “The aim of this EBCD project was to improve chronic pain management by bringing the lived and learned experiences of staff and patients together to prioritise and co-design solutions as equal partners.

    “We co-produced recommendations for peer support and group education for people living with chronic pain to share with the system. We also developed a patient film and poster to raise the awareness of how connecting with activities, groups, and services in local communities can support people to live well with chronic pain.”

    You can read more about the HIN’s project in this blog and an overview of their progress and next steps with the EBCD project by clicking here.

    Lucie Wellington is a Senior Innovation Advisor and Opioids Programme Manager, Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP). ICHP is supporting the North West London (NWL) Integrated Care Board in using a systemwide model to reduce harm from opioids. The programme is being delivered via two workstreams; improving opioid stewardship across the care interfaces and PCN opioid optimisation review. Both workstreams put patient and public engagement at the heart of their efforts. Speaking about their work, Lucie said:

    “In line with our unwavering commitment to delivering high-quality care, our latest strategic initiative is aimed at involving patients and the public in shaping the direction of our programme. We are seeking experts by experience to contribute invaluable insights on programme strategy and patient and clinician facing resources. Collaboration with our local polypharmacy initiative further promotes shared decision-making through a behaviour change campaign, empowering patients in structured medication reviews.

    “Guided by NWL co-leadership and our shared dedication to making an impact, our programme has cut high-dose opioid prescriptions by 57 patients monthly, reflecting patient centred-care.”

    For more information about the ICHP programme, click here.

    Jess Catone is an Implementation Manager leading the Medicines Safety Improvement Programme at UCLPartners . UCLPartners has formed a core working group and an Opioids Network with representation from patients, Primary Care Networks (PCNs), community pharmacy, secondary care and mental health trusts across North Central and North East London. The aim of the Opioids Network is to provide a platform for patients, healthcare professionals, and voluntary/charity sectors to engage, share learning and develop better ways to manage chronic non-cancer pain. Jess briefly summarised some of the key elements of the UCLPartners programmes:

    “We have produced an implementation guide for group education sessions, which was co-developed with patients and clinicians and includes a suite of material to support the work. These sessions, called ‘Feeling ALIVE: I cAn LIVE well with pain’, provide patients with information on ways to better manage their persistent pain and incorporate a follow-up consultation with a healthcare professional. The sessions also give patients an opportunity to meet and converse with other people who are experiencing similar issues with managing persistent pain.”

    For more information on the work underway at UCLPartners, click here.

    We are delighted to work with NHS England Patient Safety Team, PSCs across England and Pan-London system partners to improve the lived experiences of patients living with chronic pain. Let's continue work together to empower patients, enabling them to play a vital role in enhancing safety and minimising opioid-related harm within chronic pain management.


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