Patients living with heart failure in Northern Ireland will, for the first time have their medication prescribed directly for them by nurses working in a specialist role in the Belfast, Northern and Western Health and Social Care Trust areas.
The pilot project will mean patients can get the medicine they need urgently without having to get a prescription from GP and then take this to a pharmacy.
Brenda Creaney, Executive Director of Nursing, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said, “Approximately 17,000 patients in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with heart failure and it accounts for about 5% of all emergency admissions. A prescribing Heart Failure Nurse will mean the patient does not have to go to the GP for a prescription and will enable the patient to receive the right medicine, at the right time from the right healthcare professional.”
This pilot will help to reduce delays in patients getting urgent medication and reduce both unnecessary appointments and pressure on GPs.
To ensure continuity of the patient’s care, nurses will keep GPs informed about any medicine which has been prescribed.
Once a patient has been stabilised on their heart failure medication, ongoing prescriptions and monitoring of a patient will be carried out by the patient’s GP.
Andrea Linton, Pharmacy and Medicines Management Co-ordinator, Health and Social Care Board said, “This new pilot will improve access to medicines, reduce duplication of effort and utilise the skills and experience of nurse prescribers. Over the next few months, we will be testing the efficacy of this programme and identifying the benefit to patients.”
The pilot will be tested initially in the Belfast, Western and Northern Health and Social Care Trust areas until June 2021 before being fully evaluated.