Select Committee on Health Written Evidence


Memorandum by Gill Booth (PC 54)

  I am a registered nurse and am Team Leader of St. Luke's Hospice at Home in Basildon and Thurrock, South West Essex. I would urge the committee to look at out of hours drug provision, as this causes enormous distress to patients, families and staff. We are trying to provide an out of hours service, backed up by on-call specialist palliative care consultant medical advice, which is only benefical if the advice can be followed. I personally feel that every local general hospital should be a resource to the community in which it stands. The pharmacy should be available to them whether they are an inpatient or a community patient. I feel they should be licensed automatically to accept community FP 10s and be available, either on-call or on-duty 24/7. The pros would be:

    —  a central location—every one knows where their general hospital is;

    —  on site security;

    —  parking;

    —  good road access—most patients have someone who will collect it—if not? a courier service be devised; and

    —  the ability to stock sufficient supplies of all necessary drugs without problems of them becoming out of date.

  This would then stop access to medication being reliant on the altruistic nature of individual community pharmacists. It would also stop the hours spent trying to devise legal schemes to provide medications, and avoid professionals being put at risk by carrying them. This would have a cost, but I feel it would be instrumental in keeping patients out of acute beds and at home, where up to 70% of people would choose to be if asked. The problem of staffing could be solved by using community pharmacists to staff it out of hours, with sufficient pay to tempt them, without the problem of security to their own premises. This may also be of benefit to other conditions who may be admitted because a certain medication is required. The first move to obtain necessary medication is to transfer the patient to casualty, why not have the facility of the hospital's medication being available to the patient at home.

  The frustration of seeing your patient admitted from their loving and safe environment to the alien and noisy atmosphere of an A&E department, purely because you cannot obtain the drug that you know will help them is very small compared with the suffering caused to that person. No-one would want their own mother or father or wife or husband or son or daughter treated in that way—this is an ideal time to stop this nightmare.

February 2004

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