Norman Niven image
Norman Niven, Founder of the Medication Support Company

A COVID-secure telehealth service, which ensures people take their medicines correctly, has been shortlisted for a third prestigious national award.

PAMAN – which brings community pharmacy into people’s homes – is thought to be the world’s first remote medicines management service. It was developed by the Medication Support Company in collaboration with Liverpool City Council.

Of those using PAMAN, 97 percent now take their medicines correctly, compared to the national average of 55 percent, improving safety, health outcomes and wellbeing.

The internet-based service also generates significant savings for health and care services. If implemented across England, it could save taxpayers more than £100 million every year, the Medication Support Company says.

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This latest accolade sees PAMAN shortlisted in the Health Service Journal’s Patient Safety Awards in the ‘Best Use of Technology in Patient Safety’ category.

Norman Niven, a community pharmacist, established the Medication Support Company in 2019 after spending over 35 years developing services that make taking medicines safer.

A former director of BUPA Care Services, Norman said: “Research shows that only 55% of patients take their medicines as prescribed.

“It is, without doubt, the biggest single threat to ensuring a sustainable health and care service for people, not just in the UK, but globally. The cost to the UK of patients not taking their medicines is estimated to be around £3billion every year. In the United States, it’s $600billion!

“However, the biggest losers are patients themselves who have poorer health outcomes with increased morbidity and mortality.

“PAMAN is the first technology-supported service to tackle this problem, by bringing community pharmacy into people’s homes, at the touch of a button, to ensure medicines are taken correctly. People who use the service say it gives them independence and makes them feel safer. It can make a real difference to their lives.”

Ann Williams, Liverpool City Council’s commissioning and contract manager, added: “Being shortlisted for a third award in just a few months recognises the hard work put into creating such an innovative and workable solution to improving medicines management and patient safety.

“The service has helped us make significant and sustainable savings – around £345,000 in the last year. But more importantly, it has made a huge difference to people’s quality of life by giving them more independence. We have had so many positive comments from service users and their families about PAMAN. They like the contact with real people who always call on time and who are qualified to answer the questions they would ask in a pharmacy.”

Brownlow Health, which runs six Liverpool practices, has been working with the Medication Support Company for two years.

Denise Wilson, Advanced Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Partner, said: “PAMAN has been a fantastic support for our housebound and vulnerable patients.

“The service not only improves patient safety and compliance but importantly helps patients retain their independence. During COVID, PAMAN’s additional welfare calls have been invaluable; patients love that they can have a chat with the call monitors. It’s been a huge help to us at the practice and I can’t praise the service highly enough.”

Paul and his wife Muriel were referred to the PAMAN service by social services because it was felt they would benefit from extra support to take their medicines.

They receive a call at the same time every morning from one of the team’s trained pharmacy technicians who provides help and support around all of the medication issues they have.

Paul, 68, a grandfather of eight from Liverpool, remarked: “It’s like having a community pharmacist visit every day. If we have any questions or problems, they get resolved straight away, which is such a relief and stops us worrying or wondering what to do.

“The service is first-class and gives us such peace of mind. It’s made a real difference to our quality of life. We also look forward to hearing from the team and chatting to them every day.”

The Health Service Journal’s (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards help drive improvements in culture and quality across the NHS by celebrating the teams putting safety first.

Winners will be selected ahead of the ceremony, which will take place as part of the Patient Safety Congress and Awards in Manchester in September 2021.

The full list of finalists for the 2021 HSJ Patient Safety Awards can be here 

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