GPs in Norfolk and Suffolk to gain tech support to improve prescribing quality and safety

A newly merged clinical commissioning group responsible for planning and buying local health services for more than a million patients, has signed a new agreement to support primary care prescribers to improve quality and patient safety.

NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG officially formed on 1st April 2020 following the merger of five separate CCGs for Norwich, North Norfolk, South Norfolk, West Norfolk, and Great Yarmouth and Waveney.

GP practices across the CCG region will now be able to use OptimiseRx – a solution provided by prescribing decision support experts FDB (First Databank) – that enables a message to be presented to prescribers when medications might require additional safety measures for patients, such as additional tests or supplementary drugs.

It also indicates when particular medicines might be potentially inappropriate, or drugs that might be more appropriate for a particular patient based on their specific medical history, and proactively highlights other clinical best practice to help guide professionals in their decision making.

The technology has proven popular in other parts of the health service where it is helping the NHS change prescribing behaviours by making relevant information easily accessible at the point of prescribing, enabling clinicians to make better informed decisions for their patients.

In parallel it has helped save millions of pounds through lower cost alternative medicines. More importantly for Norfolk and Waveney CCG is the opportunity to provide patient-specific prescribing decision support to busy healthcare professionals in GP practices.

Use of the solution, available for purchase via NHS Shared Business Services without a tender process, is expected to help the CCG support prescribers to improve the safety and quality of prescribing.  

Darren Nichols, Managing Director, FDB UK, said: “Whether it is improving quality of prescribing associated with respiratory illnesses, antibiotics, renal function, high dose opiates, anti-coagulants and other key areas, Norfolk and Waveney CCG is taking proactive steps to ensure patients receive the best care possible and medicines appropriate for them.

“It’s also commendable that it is engaging in this work as its workforce is tackling the greatest public health crisis to ever face the NHS. In a short space of time, OptimiseRx has been rolled out to a large number of practices, and is continuing to be deployed at pace to provide an important tool to support extremely busy NHS professionals.”