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A doctor discussing medication with a patient.

Medication Safety

This theme builds on work carried out by the 2012-2017 NIHR Greater Manchester PSTRC on developments in medication safety surveillance and intervention.

We focus on developing safety management systems to ensure safer care and treatment/prescribing, exploring how the prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines within, and between, healthcare organisations can be improved.

In particular, we aim to develop a safety management system (SMS) covering the drug use process and to examine its potential to reduce errors associated with medication use in primary care.

Medicines are the most commonly used clinical intervention, and errors can lead to significant patient harm, hospitalisation and death. This theme will develop and test a number of new interventions by using the NIHR Greater Manchester PSTRC's expertise in informatics to address these major safety challenges.

Specific projects will include the following.

  • Continuation of the 'First 100 prescriptions' study, looking at the impact of electronic audit and feedback on the prescribing safety of general practice trainees.
  • Enhancing and evaluating our Medication Safety Surveillance system using primary and secondary care electronic health records to develop a library of prescribing safety indicators that can be deployed across the NHS.
  • Building on the success of our Patient Safety Toolkit for general practice, we will continue to work with our Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Collaborative to develop and test a patient safety and improvement toolkit for community pharmacies in conjunction with the Pharmacy Voice national association of pharmacy trade bodies.
  • Evaluate the impact of an electronic Refer-to-Pharmacy scheme in Greater Manchester, examining the extent to which this could improve medication safety on discharge from hospital.

Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Collaborative

The NIHR Greater Manchester PSTRC set up the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Collaborative in 2015, as a way of sharing learning about quality and safety improvement.

A number of community pharmacists have been involved in the initiative, representing a range of pharmacy types, from small independent pharmacies to large chains. The meetings, which take place once a month, are mutually beneficial. The PSTRC’s Medication Safety team shares their knowledge on best practice in patient safety and risk management techniques with the Collaborative. In turn, the Collaborative shares their experiences and insights of practical day-to-day pharmacy practice with the PSTRC. Together, we are developing and testing resources to help improve patient safety in the community pharmacy setting.

The Greater Manchester PSTRC has published a number of blog posts written by members of the Patient Safety Collaborative. In these, pharmacists reflect on their involvement in the initiative and the changes this has brought about in their own pharmacies:

An Involvement and Engagement case study has also been generated, which explains the benefits of involving healthcare professionals in the research. 

Theme Lead

Nottingham Lead

Key staff

Affiliated staff

  • Dr Richard Bourne
  • Professor Rachel Elliott
  • Dr Richard Keers
  • Dr Denham Phipps
  • Dr Sarah Rodgers

PSTRC PhD Fellows

  • Ahmed Ashour
  • Eleni Domzaridou


  • Magda Nowakowska

Affiliated PhD Fellows

  • Leonie Penner
  • Adam Sutherland