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Omnicell UK support for the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review

Date: August 11, 2020

Category: Guest opinion piece

Author: Guest author

Following the publication of the Cumberlege review in July, Omnicell’s UK Automation Sales Director, Ed Platt, voices his support for the review which calls for wide-ranging and radical improvements across the UK health system.

The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, published its report “First Do No Harm” on 8 July. “First Do No Harm” sets out nine major recommendations to bring much-needed help and support to those who have suffered as a result of these interventions, and to reduce the risk of avoidable harm from medicines and medical devices in the future.

This review has been a long-awaited two-year programme of work which could be the catalyst for change that the UK health care system has been crying out for."

With over three quarters of medication errors within secondary care happening during the administration process, it’s vital that NHS trusts also have systems in place to ensure nurses are able to select the right dose of the right drug, and administer it to the right patient. Omnicell automated medication dispensing cabinets provide this safety net.

The review also refers to staff spending more time with patients to educate them on their medications. Staggeringly it is estimated that approximately 40 per cent of nurses’ clinical time is spent administering medications, translating to 12–16 hours in any given working week. Omnicell technology can help staff spend less time on labour-intensive and administration tasks, meaning they can spend significantly more time on patient services and face to face patient care.

Two of the other recommendations are central to our work with GS1. Firstly, “the regulator of medicines and medical devices, the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Products Agency, needs to put patients at the heart of its activity, and to overhaul adverse event reporting and medical device regulation”. Secondly, “that a central patient-identifiable database should be created by collecting key details of the implantation of all devices at the time of the operation. This can then be linked to specifically created registers to research and audit the outcomes both in terms of the device safety and patient reported outcomes measures”.

As a GS1 UK partner, we work to ensure all our systems can capture unique GS1 identifiers for the user, location, patient, item, and lot number as required. In the event of a stock take or product recall, the reporting system can tell trusts which product has been used for which patient and which is still on a shelf. Once captured in a central database, this will help capture adverse event reporting to meet medical device regulatory requirements and to improve product recall processes.

A great example of this is how Omnicell’s SupplyX could be used at the point of care in theatres. Our system can identify faulty items on the shelf and connect to the national database when ready with the details of any implantable devices used. This improves patient safety by reducing the use of faulty or recalled products and improves patient outcomes by understanding what has been used, where, when.

This review really goes to show that implementing tried and trusted automation can make a real difference in adverse event reporting, track and trace as well as banishing medication errors, therefore strengthening patient safety from the moment the drug is prescribed to the moment the drug is administered to the patient.

About the author

Edward Platt, Automation Sales Director, Omnicell UK&I

Ed Platt headshotEdward Platt is the Automation Sales Director at Omnicell UK&I. He attended the University of Manchester Business School to study International Business and first started his career at Omnicell as a project manager before moving into sales. He is passionate about driving savings and efficiencies through the NHS and improving healthcare and patient safety and outcomes.


About Omnicell

Omnicell provides innovative pharmacy and automated medication and supplies management solutions to NHS hospitals, private hospitals, care homes and pharmacies both in the UK and globally. Their products aim to reduce medication errors, improve patient safety and operational efficiencies so that clinical staff can spend more time on face to face patient care.

Explore Omnicell’s profile on the GS1 UK partner finder to find out more.