Southern Cross Hospitals begin rollout of National Medication Chart

13 Nov 2013 | Medication Safety

The Health Quality & Safety Commission congratulates Southern Cross Hospitals, for embarking on a rollout of the National Medication Chart (NMC) across its national network of hospitals.

Thanks to Southern Cross, for the following article.

As New Zealand’s largest national private surgical hospital network Southern Cross Hospitals is committed to patient safety and this is behind the decision to align with Health Quality & Safety Commission national patient safety initiatives, in particular the NMC, which has been a priority for the Commission’s National Medication Safety Programme.

Southern Cross’ Rotorua Hospital has successfully transitioned to the new NMC and Christchurch Hospital is poised to start implementing its use this week.

Standardisation such as this, is a recognised safety initiative in many industries. And the practice can provide significant benefits for those health professionals prescribing and administering medicines who work between multiple hospitals.

This is certainly the case within Southern Cross’ private surgical hospitals, as most specialists (and many nurses) effectively work over time in both public institutions and private health care organisations.  

The aim of the new National Medication Chart is to reduce medication errors that can happen when clinicians are unfamiliar with a chart, or with a hospital’s unique systems.

In September Southern Cross held a NMC implementation workshop for all its hospitals. While each hospital will decide when it is best to introduce the NMC, all facilities will have it implemented by the end of 2014. This flexibility allows individual hospitals time to link their electronic theatre processes with the NMC and plan ahead for the roll-out.

From start to finish, implementing the NMC within each hospital takes approximately 12 weeks; preparation, training and education taking six weeks and additional support for practice issues continuing for another six weeks. The implementation is overseen by a nominated staff member, most likely the Nurse Manager for the inpatient wards.

As each hospital shifts to using the NMC, key learnings will be used to help others in the network.

For example, based on experiences at Rotorua Hospital, Christchurch Hospital knew to:

  1. address what processes and other forms would be affected by the shift
  2. address the importance of identifying NMC champions within the business.

With this in mind, Christchurch Hospital developed yellow badges for their champions and this action will now be taken up by other Southern Cross hospitals.

Once the hospital has successfully transitioned from a local chart to the NMC, staff can work secure in the knowledge that what they are using supports best-practice prescribing principles that meet national standards.

Furthermore, Southern Cross has adapted an on-line learning module, specifically on the NMC, that is based on the Waitemata DHB module and open to all employees.

The feedback from staff at Rotorua Hospital has been very positive. This is encouraging as Southern Cross moves forward with this initiative. 

Southern Cross Hospitals network:

  • Auckland Surgical Centre
  • Brightside
  • North Harbour
  • Hamilton
  • Rotorua
  • New Plymouth
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Invercargill

Last updated 13/11/2013