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Trust's ‘green bag’ scheme aims to make moving medicines safer

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A Midlands trust has launched an initiative encouraging patients to keep their drugs in distinctive green bags in order to try and improve medicines management and enhance patient safety.

The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust initiative is designed to help patients bring their current medications with them to hospital and keep them together in one place.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

‘Green bags’ help patients keep medication together

Green bag poster image

It means staff will be informed what medication patients are taking at any given time and, providing no changes are made, pharmacies may not need to supply more drugs, speeding up discharge.

Following a successful pilot, the green bags have been introduced at its three main sites –Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope Hospital.

Green bags will be given out in emergency departments, outpatients and admissions departments and by West Midlands Ambulance Service, which will use them to collect medicines if patients need to go to hospital in an emergency.

Tania Carruthers, clinical director for pharmacy at the trust, said the bags should ensure routine medicines, plus any new ones introduced, were kept together with the patient throughout their “hospital journey”.

“It’s a simple scheme and by using the green bags, this will not only reduce the risks of missing or delaying medicine doses and result in enhanced quality of care and improved patient experience, it will also minimise medicine waste,” she said.

The trust staff, which employs more than 10,000 members of staff, provides general and specialist hospital care across its hospitals and also provides community services across Solihull.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Green bags for medications was launched by MK Hospital and community partners back in 2004, was very successful

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  • I don't seem to understand this. Medications should be kept in the patients lockers, so they are together. I can see the ambulance service using them. Medication delays on admission will be due to them not being PRX by doctors. And patients taking them possibly at different times of the day. I feel that this would make no really difference in medication management.

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