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Improving patient care in EDs

8 October 2013

In response to concerns raised by AMA Victoria President Dr Stephen Parnis, Ambulance Victoria have endeavoured to renew its efforts to improve patient care in emergency departments by encouraging Ambulance Victoria staff to bring a patient’s medications along with them every time they transport someone to an emergency department.

It is the experience of many doctors in emergency medicine that many patients being transported by Ambulance Victoria personnel do not have their medication with them.

Not having immediate access to a patient’s medications has a number of implications, for emergency staff including:

  • Time wasted by doctors attempting to determine an accurate medication and dosage list for a patient by contacting pharmacies and GPs to access medical records, which is more challenging after hours;
  • Greater uncertainty about whether a patient is taking medication. This can be easily determined, for instance, if a container of tablets is unopened;
  • Delays in accessing their usual medication;
  • Extra costs to the patient or hospital in unnecessary dispensing of more medication;
  • Greater confusion for the patient and carers.

It is often the case that the patient will be able to convey very little about their medications, and it is not uncommon for poor compliance with medication to be the reason for their need for urgent medical treatment.

Doctors are urged to contact AMA Victoria if they continue to experience problems of this nature.

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