20 January 2022

All acute admission mental health wards run by CNWL have now gone live with an electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA) system.

The work started in July last year on two of CNWL’s inpatient wards at St Charles Hospital before being rolled out on a borough-by-borough basis.

With the Go-Live at Milton Keynes’ Campbell Centre this month, this means that all CNWL’s acute admission mental health wards now have EPMA.

Now the Trust is gearing up for rolling the system out to community intermediate care units.

Its aim is to have all its 52 wards and clinical areas live with EPMA by April this year.

During the next financial year CNWL plans to extend EPMA to community services to digitalise prescriptions and administration of medicines processes

EPMA replaces the previous paper-based process for prescribing and administering medications. The aim is to improve patient care and safety by reducing prescribing, dispensing, administration and transcription errors.

By switching to paperless, prescribing information at the wards is now more accessible to all clinical staff that require it.

Doctors have also saved half an hour a day that was previously spent rewriting drug charts to ensure consistency and accuracy, meaning they have more time to focus on patient care.

For many staff this meany changing ways of working they were used to with new processes. Staff reaction has been a mix of trepidation at the introduction of the new system followed mostly by a positive welcome once they have become used to it.

Tf Chan, CNWL’s chief pharmacist, said: “Introducing an EPMA system is always challenging but even more so during a pandemic so I must congratulate the whole of the EPMA project for this incredible achievement.

“And while we’ve had our challenges in rolling this out, reception from staff has been overwhelmingly positive. They have seen the benefits.

“Nurses have told me they don’t need to look through 17 drug charts. They press a button and they know, for example, that at 12pm 10 patients need their medication so it cuts down the drug administration. Can you imagine all that time saved?”

Manoj Mungur, Manager for Ferneley Ward said: “It has been fantastic to be a part of this change during my career.  I am so happy with the system and so glad that our wards have been fortunate enough to go through this change.

“It was a bit worrying to begin with but with the help of the EPMA team and with all the preparations it was a smooth transition.  The system makes a huge difference and is so much faster.  The staff are really happy and have really embraced the system.”

EPMA clinical champions Dr Anita Kulatilake (Consultant for Kershaw Ward, St Charles) and Dr Nicola Ng said: “As two consultants who have been involved with EPMA for the past 10 months, this was a really exciting opportunity to put the months of planning and designing the EPMA platform into live clinical practice.

“While we were all initially apprehensive and worried about the risks of converting to electronic prescribing (lots of us are not normally that tech savvy), overall, the ward teams were pleasantly surprised.

“It was much easier it was to navigate through the different administration times, and see clearly who needed what and when.

“The project brought us as ward teams closer together, and it was an extremely rewarding experience to see the first drug round successfully delivered electronically.

“It’s been a seamless transition; there is no longer that panic when drug charts go missing, or having to call the duty doctor at the weekend to rewrite the drug chart when you have run out of space, have missing doses or unsigned prescriptions.

“Our prescribing and administration of drugs is a lot safer now, and drug errors have fallen dramatically.

“Looking back, there is no way we would revert back to paper charts after seeing the ease and efficiency of EPMA! It will be hard work to begin with, but we want to reassure you that will definitely be worth it!!!”