The Green Bags are given to patients at their hospital pre-admission assessment, during a stay in hospital, with a hospital appointment letter, or readily available from St. Mary’s Hospital Pharmacy. Green Bags are also used by the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service to bring medicines into hospital.
Gillian Honeywell, Chief Pharmacist at St. Mary’s Hospital, said:
“It is really important for healthcare professionals to know what medicines people are taking to be able to review and help patients get the best from their medicines and the Green Bags are an effective and safe way to do this.
“We need to know about all medicines that are being taken, not just those prescribed by a GP, but also remedies and herbal products bought from pharmacies or other shops, and so it is really important to bring your Green bag containing all of your medicines with you to your appointments.”
The aim of the My Medicines Green Bag is to improve patient safety by giving healthcare staff accurate information about patients medicines, in particular ensuring that medicines prescribed on admission to hospital are the same as those that the patient was taking at home. It also ensures the safe transfer of medicines wherever people go, without any interruption or missing any doses.
Anyone attending healthcare appointments should take their medicines with them in a Green Bag, especially if they are moving to another hospital or residential/care home, have an appointment with their GP, a hospital outpatient appointment or seeing their local community pharmacist for a review of the medicines the patient uses.
Gillian Honeywell, continued:
“The My Medicines Green Bags not only provide healthcare staff with accurate information about a patient’s medicines, but they enable patients to keep control of their own medicines, and help to avoid any delays in receiving treatment or being discharged from hospital. Any changes to the prescription are replaced in the Green Bag, so that only the right medicines are available, with less confusion about what to take and what’s been changed. They also provide a useful place for keeping medicines related information safe, for example a repeat prescription/discharge letter.
“The unnecessary waste caused by supplying medicines which aren’t always needed has been greatly reduced since we started using the scheme, and with medicines costing over £20m on the Isle of Wight every year, we have to make sure that we minimise waste and get the most from the medicines we take. Using national evidence, we are currently saving at least £100,000 a year simply by not throwing away medicines that are still needed, and not duplicating what we are supplying or supplying what isn’t needed. The longer term health improvements as we get the best from our medicines will deliver many times more than these direct cash savings.”
The Green Bag Scheme was first developed on the Isle of Wight on behalf of the South Central Patient Safety Federation. Since the initial launch in 2010 is has received national interest and has been rolled out to NHS Trusts and Ambulance Trusts across the Country.
You can see Gillian Honeywell being interviewed about the scheme in 2010 below…