Trust launches Green Bag initiative to improve patient safety

Posted: June 18, 2012

Green bags allow patients to keep their medicines with them

The Pharmacy Department at the Great Western Hospital has launched a 'Green Bag' initiative for patients to keep their medication with them at all times should they come into hospital.

The Green Bag is a simple but effective way to improve patient safety as it provides Doctors with more complete information about the medication patients are on when they are admitted which reduces the risk of delays in patients receiving the correct medication they need.  It will also help deliver considerable savings by reducing the need for the pharmacy team to have to re-supply medicines a patient already has at home. 

Launching the scheme, Denise Reeves, Lead Pharmacist said:  "This is a very simple idea and in the future any patient being admitted to the Great Western Hospital will be given a green pharmacy bag to keep their medicines with them throughout their stay.  A pharmacist will check the drugs on admission and then again on discharge to make sure the patient has everything they need. 

"There are a number of benefits for patients and for the hospital from this scheme.  Together with improving patient safety by ensuring Doctors have the information they need to treat the patient effectively, it's also designed to reduce the chance of delays in patient treatment. Some patients have very complex medication needs so by us ensuring all medication is with the patient before they leave hospital we can reduce the length of their stay meaning a patient will be home more quickly.

Vicky Jones, Lead Technician in the Pharmacy said: "Through the green bag we also aim to save money to reinvest in other aspects of patient care.  Patients often come into hospital and are already on some form of medication but don't necessarily have it with them.  As a result the Pharmacy at the GWH has to re-supply the medication, something that has already been paid for.  By introducing this scheme we are asking patients and their relatives to bring their medication with them if they come into hospital and we've calculated this will save the NHS £58,000 a year - money which could be used for other important aspects of frontline care.

"For patients who are admitted as an emergency, we are working with the ambulance service on this project so they will look out for the green bag in patients' homes so they can bring the patient and their medication into hospital swiftly." 

The Trust has launched a simple video explaining the initiative to patients so they know what to expect when they come into hospital.  The video can be viewed here:

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