Our most recent Patient and Public Interest Group (PAPIG) meeting was held virtually on the 12 November 2021. The theme of the meeting was patient data and how it’s used in the work of AWTTC to help achieve safer and better prescribing for the people of Wales.
The meeting consisted of several very interesting and informative talks on this topic. Dr Clare Elliott, Senior Scientist and Patient Engagement Lead, opened the meeting by welcoming all new and returning attendees and encouraged feedback and discussion throughout.
Claire Thomas, a senior pharmacist at AWTTC gave an insight into the national prescribing indicators (NPIs), what they are and how they work. Claire highlighted the importance of the NPIs which provide clear safety, stewardship and efficiency messages for prescribers to help achieve good practice. Health boards and GP practices can also use them to benchmark themselves against others. Delegates learnt what makes a good prescribing indicator which includes them being validated, evidence-based, clear, standardised and having an aim or target. Claire also mentioned that patients and the public are invited to comment on the proposed indicators when they are reviewed each year.
We were delighted to welcome Keith Howkins, Principal Information Specialist from Digital Health Care Wales (DHCW), who gave an excellent overview on how patient data is collected, used and stored by NHS Wales and how this data is used to inform patient care and future planning.
Claire James, a patient representative and also lay member on the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) then presented a patient’s perspective on the use of patient data in a thought-provoking talk. Claire highlighted the fact that the provision of good healthcare is reliant on intelligence gained through the analysis of such data and allowing our personal health data to be used is key to this. She mentioned that there are strict information governance rules within NHS Wales to keep patient data safe and secure.
Gail Woodland, senior pharmacist at AWTTC, gave a presentation outlining how data is used in both the One Wales Medicines process and in Individual Patient Funding Requests (IPFRs). Gail explained how data is used to inform both processes and the measures in place to protect any patient identifiable information.
Jenna Walker, Specialist Information Pharmacist from the Yellow Card Centre Wales talked about what happens to a Yellow Card once it has been submitted. This followed on from the previous PAPIG meeting when Jenna gave an overview of the Yellow Card Scheme used to report side effects of medicines and vaccines. In this talk, Jenna highlighted how a third of the reports received in 2015 led to changed advice to prescribers and patients, minimising the risks of taking these medicines and leading to improved public health. This illustrates how reporting side effects can have a real impact and how important it is to encourage as many people as possible to fill in a Yellow Card as it is estimated that only 10% of reactions are ever reported.
Kath Haines, head of AWTTC’s Welsh Analytical Prescribing Support Unit (WAPSU) discussed how data is used to monitor medicine prescribing in Wales, how this improves health outcomes and how this data is collected, analysed and shared within NHS Wales. Kath went on to talk about the medicines safety dashboard, which measures safe-prescribing progress nationally and locally, and enables comparison between health boards and primary care clusters with tools to support identification of medicines- related harm.
For the final presentation, Richard Boldero, senior pharmacist at AWTTC, gave an update on a project identifying opportunities to improve prescribing which involves using prescribing data to identify and monitor prescribing of some medicines deemed a low priority for funding. These are items which should not be routinely prescribed either because there is substantial evidence to show they are not effective, or there are better or safer products available which should be used instead.
Off the back of this meeting, some follow up information arising from the discussions and also details of AWTTC work where we would value patient and public input was sent to all those who attended.
We are already planning the programme for the next meeting which will be held in late February/early March 2022 - further details will be published soon. A video of our November PAPIG meeting is available below.