With all that is going on in the NHS, perhaps it is time to reflect on the prescribers. Rushed to make decisions on medicines, because the environment requires it. Straightjacketed by guidelines and driven by performance metrics, incentives and QoF. Lets calm things down a little and think things through.
What are we there for? To guide patients through to the right decisions. Although, healthcare professionals as a group make quite poor health related decision. It is not unusual to see people who are overweight, smoke, drink alcohol or have other problems. So some of this stuff is not so easy. And the worse thing in life is a prescriber who preaches – or bullies.
The art is in supporting patients to make the right decisions. Health is not a conveyer belt that a patient rides on – it is a long pathway with a few blind ends that a patient walks along. The more blind ends we enter, the lower the chance we have of achieving the goals.
Prescribers – remember to take things slow. Agree goals that are the patient’s goals and aim to achieve them. The relationship needs to be long term, so don’t rush, hit the first goal first and move on.
Pharmacists – remember that we need to understand how medicines achieve patient goals. It’s not all about efficacy and cost anymore. We need to know more about each medicine and know where each could be employed to achieve agreed goals.
Community Pharmacists – remember the patient experience and what you can do to support the stages and help the patient to take a reasonable course. Some patients who want to take their medicines properly, still may need help to do this.
Everyone – we all must ensure that the whole patient journey is as safe as possible. Things will go wrong when we are not all aligned with the patient goals.
The patient – it is your health problem, you are the carer and you are the solution. You set the goals, you achieve them. We are just there to help.