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Hospital patients urged to ‘Keep calm and ask about medicines’

Wednesday, 08 July, 2015
Hospital patients urged to ‘Keep calm and ask about medicines’

Patients being treated across hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside are being urged to talk to nurses, doctors and pharmacists to understand the purpose of any new medication before they leave hospital.

As part of a continued focus on patient safety and improvement, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is this week launching a major ‘Keep calm and ask’ campaign to encourage patients and their families to ask any questions they may have before they, or their loved ones, leave hospital.

The campaign, which is being rolled out across the trust’s hospitals including the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington, follows feedback from patients that they are sometimes unclear and confused about new medication they have been given whilst in hospital.

Posters about the campaign are to be displayed next to patients’ bedsides, in ward areas and in waiting areas with postcard-sized booklets also handed to patients. Information will also be available on the trust’s website and shared widely across social media platforms.

Rosemary Stephenson, director of nursing at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We continually listen to feedback from patients about their experiences in our hospitals so we can improve the care we provide and people have told us that they sometimes feel unsure about new medication they have been given in hospital.

“We fully understand that patients are often given a lot of information while they’re in hospital and our ‘keep calm and ask’ campaign is all about urging patients to talk to our teams before they leave.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be the patient who asks the question. Relatives or carers are welcome to ask any one of our clinical staff – whether that’s a nurse, a doctor or other member of the team – they are more than happy to answer any queries.”

David Campbell, chief pharmacist at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Medication plays a vital role in helping our patients to get better sooner and it’s absolutely essential that they understand the medicines they are taking and how best to take them.

“This is particularly important if patients are being started on new medicines in hospital that they will continue to take when they go home. This is to understand the purpose of any new medicines, are aware of any side effects to watch out for and what to do if they experience those, and how to safely take the new medicines.”

Mr Campbell also reminded patients to bring in the medications they are taking when they are admitted to hospital to enable staff to have a clear record.

“It would really help us if patients brought with them all the medications they are taking when they come into hospital along with their repeat prescription sheet from their GP to help us build up a clear picture of the medication patients are taking,” he said.

Northumbria Healthcare’s pharmacy service oversees all the medication provided to patients across hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside. Working with doctors and nurses, pharmacy staff ensure that patients have the correct medication while they are on the wards and when they go home.

For information about the campaign, visit or follow Northumbria Healthcare online.