Sunday, September 25, 2005

Where is the extra NHS money going?

About half of the new money went on staff, the NHS' single biggest cost.

A fifth - £1.4bn - went on employing new staff, which was one of the two key objectives of the 2000 10-year NHS Plan.

This money has helped pay for a sustained increase in nurses (67,880 more since 1999), consultants (7,330 more) and GPs (3,060 more).

But a larger proportion, nearly 30%, went on paying staff more. Since the NHS Plan in 2000, new contracts have been agreed for consultants, GPs and non-clinical staff such as cleaners and porters.

Please note that we are talking about the N.H.S. the National Health System of the United Kingdom. So, make now your comparisons!


Thursday, September 15, 2005

ESCP upcoming conferences and congresses

The Fall 2005 Annual Symposium will take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on 26-29 October 2005.

Spring 2006 Conference will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania on 24-27 May 2006.

In the Fall of 2006, the 35th ESCP Symposium on Clinical Pharmacy will be held in Vienna, Austria on 18-21 October 2006.

In the Spring of 2007 the Conference will be held in the United Kingdom or Greece.

Further information is available at:

(source: ESCP News, the bi-monthly newsletter of the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy, September 2005, No 126)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Medication Errors: Hospital Pharmacist Perspective

We found a very interesting article concerning the medication errors in the website of the Hospital Pharmacists Association of the Netherlands (Nederlandse Vereniging van Ziekenhuisapothekers (NVZA) (

This article critically examines possible interventions aimed at reducing medication errors and the role of the pharmacist in these interventions.

Topics covered include:

* Adverse Drug Events (ADEs),
* Risk Assessment in Clinical Pharmacy,
* The Drug Distribution Chain (Medical Diagnosis, Drug Choice, Precribing, Dispensing, Preparation, Barcode-Enabled Point of Care Systems) and
* The role of the clinical pharmacist

Here is the abstract:

Drugs 2005; 65 (13): 1735-1746
2005 Adis Data Information BV. All rights reserved.

Medication Errors
Hospital Pharmacist Perspective

Henk-Jan Guchelaar,1 Hadewig B.B. Colen,2 Mathijs D. Kalmeijer,3
Patrick T.W. Hudson4 and Irene M. Teepe-Twiss1

1 Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Toxicology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
2 Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Medical Spectrum Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands
3 Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4 Department of Psychology, Center for Safety Science, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands


In recent years medication error has justly received considerable attention, as it causes substantial mortality, morbidity and additional healthcare costs. Risk
assessment models, adapted from commercial aviation and the oil and gas industries, are currently being developed for use in clinical pharmacy.
The hospital pharmacist is best placed to oversee the quality of the entire drug
distribution chain, from prescribing, drug choice, dispensing and preparation to
the administration of drugs, and can fulfil a vital role in improving medication
safety. Most elements of the drug distribution chain can be optimised; however,
because comparative intervention studies are scarce, there is little scientific
evidence available demonstrating improvements in medication safety through
such interventions.
Possible interventions aimed at reducing medication errors, such as developing
methods for detection of patients with increased risk of adverse drug events,
performing risk assessment in clinical pharmacy and optimising the drug distribution chain are discussed. Moreover, the specific role of the clinical pharmacist in improving medication safety is highlighted, both at an organisational level and in individual patient care.

You can download the whole article from the address:

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Medicines free of charge to low pension earners in Greece

The article has been published in the website of the Greek Radiotelevision ( According to this article:
The Health Ministry is examining the possibility of granting medicines free of charge to low pension earners and people suffering from chronic ailments. Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis submitted to the Central Council of Health letters sent by people who cannot afford to pay for their medicines, so they can be examined. Therefore, according to a regulation that is being reviewed by the Council, people with chronic ailments and low pension earners may not have to contribute any money towards paying for their medicines.

Thousands of letters have been sent to the Health Minister's office by low pension earners who cannot afford to pay for their medicines.

Nikitas Kaklamanis then passed the letters on to the Central Council of Health, asking for them to implement a regulation exempting them from any costs.
As per the new regulation, EKAS pensioners will receive all their medicines free of charge, as opposed to having to pay 10% towards the recommended price.
In addition, the Council decided to grant medicines with zero contribution to workers and pensioners suffering from chronic ailments.

According to sources, drugs for diabetes, heart diseases, Alzheimer's, leukemia and other rare ailments will be free of charge.

In many cases, patients suffering from the abovementioned diseases had to contribute up to 1,000 euros monthly for their medicines.