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Five hour wait for paracetamol

Renewed calls have been made for hospital discharge times to be  improved  after a councillor revealed she waited five hours to go home before a prescription could be issued which turned out to be for paracetamol.

Health chiefs say measures have now been taken to speed up the process so beds can be freed up more swiftly.

They  say 12 wards at Blackpool Victoria Hospital now have dedicated pharmacy teams which are helping reduce delays in handing out medicines before patients can go home.

A meeting of Blackpool Council’s adult social care and health scrutiny committee heard it was hoped to roll the scheme out to more of the hospital.

The measure was among 10 recommendations councillors had set out in a scrutiny report published last year.

Bosses from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust updated the committee on progress which has been made.

Bernice Groves, director of operations (urgent and emergency care), said: “We have 12 wards with dedicated pharmacists which has reduced the time to get prescriptions to the wards and so we are able to have quicker discharges.

“We hope to roll this out to more of the hospital.

“We have improvements still to do around the time clinicians do ward rounds and we have clear plans so people go through the system in a streamlined approach.”

Coun Debbie Coleman told the meeting during a recent hospital stay she had had to wait five hours for her prescription before being allowed home, only to find it was for paracetamol.

She said: “If I had know it was just for paracetamol I could have left five hours before and gone to the corner shop to buy it myself.

“It was unbelievable, and someone else could have had the bed.”

According to a report to the committee, the average turnaround for discharges monitored by the pharmacy department was 90 minutes in May.

Ms Groves  added work was also being done to get older patients back to their own homes more quickly following a hospital stay, using occupational therapy and social care to ensure this was safe to do.

The scheme, called ‘Home First’, enabled 174 patients to return to their own homes between October last year and May this year, instead of having to rely on residential or nursing home care.

Other recommendations made by the committee which have been acted on include allowing only up to two people to accompany patients in A&E, publicising the extended access GP appointments scheme more widely and exploring whether the first 30 minutes of parking could be free.

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