The National Patient Safety Agency reported over 20 000 safety incidents over a 3-year period, including 68 severe harms and 27 deaths. Dose delays and omissions persistently contributed to more than 50% of the reported incidents.
A pilot was designed and data were collected before and after to measure how these ward-based technician roles affected the reporting of omitted or delayed doses, time efficiency, cost implications and the general productivity of the ward.
Three months after the start of the pilot, omitted doses were reduced from 14% to 5% and no incidents of harm had been reported. The ‘perfect medication ward round’ with no interruptions lasted 23 min compared with the longest medication ward round which lasted 116 min and was interrupted 11 times.
The pilot shows that the introduction of pharmacy technicians results in fewer omitted doses and also addresses persistent staffing issues by ensuring better use of nursing time.