NPC Archive Item: Medicines Management Self Assessment Toolkit – Mental Health

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The toolkit, which was introduced in April and prepared by the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE), is designed to help Mental Health Trusts (MHTs) to review their management of medicines (MM). It should provide MHTs with an indication of what level they need to be at and any actions they need to take to improve their MM. It contains 8 core domains; safety, cost effectiveness, governance, service user and carer focus, accessible and responsive care, environment, communication and medicines information and workforce. Within each domain, there are core indicators that can be used by leaders to reflect on their organisations approach to MM. There is also an opportunity to identify which level the organisation is at within each core indicator. The aim of providing MHTs with self assessment in this context is to enable people with responsibilities for MM to identify organisational strengths and areas for improvement and to identify, prioritise and plan for improvement. The toolkit is mainly aimed at management teams with responsibility for MM (Chief Pharmacists, Chief Nurse, and Medical Director) but it could also be used by Drugs and Therapeutics committees, by groups of professionals (e.g. pharmacists, nurses or doctors) to reflect on their contribution to MM or by groups of peers to stimulate discussion about how MM is developing in MHTs. The toolkit is composed of a number of Excel spreadsheets and each core indicator can be worked through one at a time and saved electronically so that it can be accessed and returned to work on at different times. All assessment indicators must be completed. Guidance and an introduction on how to use the toolkit is available.

What is the background to this?
The toolkit, which was funded and supported by the Department of Health, is developed to look at the areas of MM that impact on the issues highlighted in the Department of Health document ‘Standards for Better Health’1and takes account of the recommendations from the Healthcare Commission (HCC) publication ‘Talking about Medicines – The management of medicines in trusts providing mental health services’2. It also incorporates those issues identified during the Pharmacy Spread Programme3. It has been piloted in 4 MHTs with teams consisting of a chief pharmacist, chief nurse and medical director. As a result of this pilot, some amendments were incorporated and rolled out to a further 3 MHTs.

The toolkit:

  • Provides MHTs with an opportunity to reflect on their approach to MM
  • Supports the development of action plans for effective local delivery
  • Helps MHTs to better understand how their systems and processes have been designed to deliver the organisation’s wider MM targets within a patient centred context
  • Provides an assessment of MM to support board level decision making

So what?
It is recommended that the toolkit is used as part of MM planning in MHTs to provide an opportunity for discussion about improvements in MM, the outcome of which should be reported at board level.

If you are part of a team with responsibility for MM in an MHT, use this toolkit to assess your current position and then use the outcomes to help your organisation plan for improvement.

Item details
‘Mental Health – Medicines Management Self Assessment Toolkit. Department of Health, April 2008’.

1. Standards for Better Health, Department of Health, 2004

2. Talking about medicines: the management of medicines in trusts providing mental health services. Healthcare Commission, 2007.

3. New ways of working of mental health pharmacists and other pharmacy staff: Learning lessons from the mental health pharmacy spread programme. Department of Health, September 2007.

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