1. Provide expert advice and regularly communicate with stakeholders
  2. Strengthen medication safety clinical leadership and culture. 
  3. Improve medication management (the safe prescribing, dispensing, administration and monitoring of medicines).
  4. Improve the transfer of medicine information at transition points of care.
  5. Reduce harm from high-risk medicines and situations and for vulnerable populations.
  6. Increase consumer participation in medication management.

National medication safety programme overviewNMSP diagram overview 2017


Workstream 1 – Leadership and Regional Engagement

The Medication Safety Programme has a key leadership role in setting out the future medication safety priority areas including how medication safety can be measured and evaluated. Developing and building medication safety networks is a critical part of this work, to ensure that the programme is aware of how DHBs prioritise, support and manage medication safety within their district (beyond the hospital). This will also contribute to developing clinical leadership, sharing lessons learned, profiling bright spots and ensuring sustainability through developing and promoting the role of medication safety specialists/experts in the sector.

Workstream 2 – Expert Advice

The focus of this workstream is to provide expert medication safety advice and contribution to policies, strategies and activities related to diverse areas of medicines management from across the sector, by patients, other agencies, and internationally.

Workstream 3 – Consumer Engagement

The programme is committed to ensuring a strong consumer voice in all aspects of the programme, including representation on the expert advisory group and supporting the sector to increase consumer participation at all levels of medication management. Co-designed initiatives will increase patient knowledge of medication side effects and also through the development and use of medication safety consumer literacy tools and resources.

Workstream 4 - Medication management

Medication management covers the prescribing, dispensing, storing, administration and monitoring of medicines. The programme oversees the national medication charting (NMC) standards and national medicine reconciliation standards that apply to both electronic and paper processes, to document prescribing orders and their administration to patients.

See National Medication Chart for more information.

Medicine reconciliation is a process to obtain the “most accurate” list of all medicines that a patient is currently taking within 24 hours of admission, transfer and discharge to and from hospital. Having this list reduces any discrepancies that have the potential to become medication errors or cause medication-related harm to patients.

See Medicine Reconciliation for more information.

The programme is partnering with the Ministry of Health on the transition from paper to electronic medicines management within hospitals.

See Electronic Medicines Management for more information.

Providing and contributing to guidance on safe medication management is another aspect of this workstream. This includes health literacy, supporting consumers to manage their medicines, allergies and adverse reactions, prescribing and administration best practice, minimum requirements for safe electronic systems including the safe display of medicines.

Workstream 5: High-risk medicines, situations and vulnerable patients

The programme uses a range of tools such as audits, root cause analysis, serious adverse event reporting, incident reporting and international horizon-scanning to identify causes of medication-related issues. Where a particular medicine or situation requires urgent action, the team scope the issue and potential solutions, seek sector feedback and disseminate alerts or safety signals for action by the sector.

See the following pages for more information:

For any inquiries about medication safety please contact info@hqsc.govt.nz.

Last updated 22/10/2021