New technology modernises medicine supply and management for Welsh ambulance service

Omnicell cabinets installed at hospitals and ambulance stations to provide a greater level of control and audit

New Omnicell cabinets are helping with medicines management for ambulance crews across Wales

The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) is using technology to improve its medicines management to ensure paramedics can respond quickly to callouts with the right treatments to hand.

The trust has installed Omnicell’s automated medicines cabinets at 15 district general hospital sites and five of its ambulance stations across Wales.

The previous process was heavily reliant on paper and clinical administration to record drug withdrawals.

By contrast, the new system automatically records which drugs are withdrawn and by whom and is fully complaint with CD legislation, providing the trust with a much-greater level of control and audit.

The system provides WAST clinicians with secure, biometric-controlled access to the range of prescription-only medicines and controlled drugs that are used by the 999 service.

Fingerprint log-in to the system permits ambulance crews to select and withdraw their required medicines and register the withdrawal against the vehicle call sign.

The reduction in the administrative burden of recording drug withdrawals by hand means our vehicles and crews are more readily available to respond to 999 calls in our communities and spend more time focusing on face-to-face patient care

The system provides a national standardised solution across Wales and offers a much-greater level of monitoring, control and traceability, which is fully compliant with UK medicines legislation and also allows the trust to monitor and fine tune cabinet stock levels to manage stock efficiently and reduce waste.

As well as ensuring drugs are dispensed and managed safely; the system helps save valuable time taken up replenishing stock at hospital-based medicine cupboards in between emergency callouts.

The modernisation and delivery of ambulance services in Wales aligns with the Welsh Government’s strategy Together for Health, which delivers improved outcomes. In addition, the installation of the cabinets meets the requirements of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and will help the trust to meet its statutory requirements under the Misuse of Drugs Act, as well as ensuring it continues to build on its commitment to patient safety.

Omnicell worked closely with the trust to provide comprehensive training to its paramedic and emergency medical technician workforce.

The cabinets were designed to meet the specific requirements of the ambulance service and installation was supported by the identification of appropriate locations, power and network requirements.

Chris Moore, health board clinical lead for the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, said: “installation of the cabinets within our trust has been a fantastic step for us.

“The new system has greatly improved the safe and secure management of our medicines and offers us a far-greater level of control and access.

“One of the great benefits of the system is the reduction in time it takes to replenish stocks. The reduction in the administrative burden of recording drug withdrawals by hand means our vehicles and crews are more readily available to respond to 999 calls in our communities and spend more time focusing on face-to-face patient care.”

Companies