Update from the safe use of opioids national collaborative

23 Jan 2015 | Medication Safety

Tēnā koutou, hello everyone and summer greetings!

The initial focus of the safe use of opioids national collaborative was convening regional learning session zeros in October and November 2014.

I was pleased so many district health board (DHB) colleagues attended, and had such high levels of interest and enthusiasm. It was also great to see representatives from MercyAscot and Southern Cross private hospitals at these meetings. The learning sessions were an excellent opportunity for collaborative teams to meet each other, and for the Commission to share its vision and goals for the collaborative. My thanks go to the teams at First, Do No Harm (Northern region) and the South Island Alliance for supporting the meetings in their regions.

I trust DHBs are busily writing their project charters and finalising their collaborative teams in preparation for learning session one. This first national meeting will be held 25–26 February at Te Papa, Wellington. This event promises to be a busy but productive time. It will be the first time that collaborative teams come together to create a national network aimed at reducing opioid-related harm, and to share and learn.

I am looking forward to seeing, from a national perspective, what collaborative teams will be focusing on during the first ‘action period’. Based on feedback to date, it looks like a range of harm will be covered across the DHBs, including respiratory depression, constipation and falls. An emerging and important area of interest is opioid prescribing during the transfer of care, and especially at discharge from hospital.

The Health Quality & Safety Commission will provide funding to support three people from each DHB to attend learning session one; I hope individual DHBs can match this and fund three other people from the team to attend! The success of learning session one depends on as many collaborative team members attending as possible.

For those of you who are interested, a library of potential opioid-related harms and measures has been compiled. These were identified by the collaborative’s expert faculty, and are meant to guide collaborative teams with their decision-making and planning.

Together with the rest of the national collaborative team, I look forward to partnering with DHBs on this important and exciting work, with the aim of achieving our mutual goal: reducing opioid-related harm in our hospitals and building our quality improvement capability.

Avril Lee, Clinical Lead

Last updated 23/01/2015