A new scheme which will improve safety and reduce medicines
waste when patients are admitted to hospital is being launched at
County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.
The 'green bag' scheme will make it easier for NHS staff to find
out which medicines a patient is taking when they are admitted for
a planned operation or procedure, or in an emergency case.
Any drugs being taken by the patient will be placed in a green,
easy to identify, reusable bag, with the right dosage
The new initiative will benefit patients and NHS staff as it
will help the right medicines to be given without delay, with
relevant drugs all in the same place including up to date
information about what the patient should take and when.
Sally Bell, Deputy Chief Pharmacist at County Durham and
Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "When patients bring their
medicines into hospital it helps the doctors, nurses and pharmacy
staff know straight away exactly what treatment they are taking.
This ensures that we can continue treatment without any delay. For
patients with long term health conditions, this can be vitally
"Patients' own medicines will normally be used for treatment
whilst in hospital and on discharge. This can help reduce discharge
waiting times and reduce any unnecessary waste of medicines.
"For the scheme to work successfully, staff involved at all
stages of the process need to be aware of how it works and play
their part in the process."
When ambulance crews pick up patients, they will put all
relevant medication - both prescribed and over the counter - in a
green bag, clearly marked with the patient's name and address, to
take to hospital.
On arrival at hospital, the green bag will be handed over to the
admitting nurse, who will arrange for storage and administration of
Green bags will usually be stored in patients' bedside lockers
or in an appropriate designated place. If a patient is transferred
to another ward, the green bag will be transferred with them.
Green bags will be stocked in various locations, including
outpatients departments, accident and emergency, critical care,
medical admissions units and hospital pharmacy departments.
North east ambulances, including 999 vehicles and non-emergency
patient transport services, will also carry the bags, to increase
the number of people arriving at hospital with the right drugs for
their existing health conditions.
Hospital pharmacies are encouraging the bags to be given out at
pre-admission clinics and, in the longer term, it is hoped that the
green bags will be included with patients' admission letters.
The bags will be promoted by posters and leaflets in GP
surgeries, community pharmacies and hospital outpatient departments
across the region.
'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been
excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very
thankful and relieved patient'.
Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital
of North Durham