It aims to improve the way patients use their medicines outside hospital and will be carried out in the newly opened Centre for Pharmacy Innovation at the LJMU School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences.
Research will initially focus on identifying improvements in how patients’ medicines are managed and prescribed when they are admitted to hospital and when they are discharged home and must continue taking medicine. The research aims to find a new process that provides safe and effective management of medicines for patients from the hospital to the community with an enhanced role for community pharmacies. The new model will be piloted at the Royal and evaluated with the aim of providing a new way of working for hospitals and pharmacies across the UK.
The project will also support the development of a post-graduate education and training programme to better equip community pharmacy teams with the skills to advise patients about their health, from minor ailments to diabetes and asthma control, providing a resource for the wider NHS community and pharmacy profession.
Professor Alison Ewing, clinical director of pharmacy at the Trust and chair in Pharmacy Innovation at LJMU’s Faculty of Science is leading the strategy for the research programme. Professor Ewing said:
"Many patients find it difficult to manage their medication when they are discharged from hospital and this often leads to their health deteriorating and they end of having to come back into hospital. The NHS aims to make greater use of community pharmacies to support patients outside hospitals. Our research aims to find ways in which hospital and community pharmacies can work together so that patients can benefit from greater support in managing their medication better.
"We want the Centre for Pharmacy Innovation to encourage and inspire pharmacists to take part in research and hope to design and deliver a new postgraduate diploma programme to advance community practice."
Professor Satya Sarker, Director, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences said:
"The Centre for Pharmacy Innovation is a key example of how the LJMU School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences engages with external stakeholders and utilises its research and teaching for the benefit of the community. This collaboration with a hospital and a community pharmacy particularly emphasises the industry-relevant research and teaching and learning activities that are taking place at LJMU, and highlights our role as a modern civic university through providing solutions to today’s healthcare challenges."
Professor Charles Morecroft, Professor of Pharmacy Education and Professional Practice at LJMU’s Faculty of Science, added:
"There have been numerous attempts to improve aspects of the discharge process for medicines in the UK. However these have not made any sustainable difference to patient safety or quality of care. We are delighted to conduct this pioneering research with LloydsPharmacy and the Royal.
"Our first PhD student is in place and is working on a project entitled "Investigating Models of Care in the NHS: Patient transfer to primary care on discharge from hospital". The project aims to determine an innovative hospital medication discharge process which provides safe, quality and effective transfer for patients from secondary to community care. This will involve a mixed methods approach."
Andrew Willetts, Healthcare Solutions Director leading the project on behalf of LloydsPharmacy, said:
"With pressure on the NHS continuing to rise and patient safety being more important than ever, there is an opportunity for pharmacy to alleviate this pressure by providing hospitals with an approved clinical pathway. It is exciting that through this research, we have the opportunity to improve the continuity of care after hospital discharge and change the face and quality of healthcare forever.
"This project is just one way in which we are driving innovation within the healthcare sector. We are incredibly proud that our partnerships between the NHS and LloydsPharmacy branches across the UK allow us to understand community healthcare in a way that helps to shape positive improvements. We see this first research project as a starting point in a long future of creating academic partnerships that will drive excellence in healthcare."