Green bag scheme aims to improve the management of patients’ medicines in hospitals

Patients coming into Lincolnshire hospitals are being encouraged to keep their personal medication in a distinctive green bag, to help improve the safety and effectiveness of medicine management across the county.

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The green bag initiative, which is being spearheaded by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) pharmacy teams, makes it easier for patients to bring their own medication with them into hospital if required, keeping everything safe and secure and together in one place.

They can be used when patients are admitted to a ward and taken home again when they are discharged from hospital. They are also available in all Trust A&E and outpatient departments.

Using a green bag means staff will be informed of what medication patients are taking when they are admitted, reducing the risks of missing or delaying doses and enhancing patient care and experience.

In addition, they could also help minimise waste in hospital pharmacies and speed up the discharge process.

The use of patients’ own medicine is a strategy used nationally to help patient flow through hospitals.

The green bags act as a distinctive reminder to patients and carers to bring their own medication into hospital with them. East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS) staff will also have a supply of bags which will be transported with the patient from the emergency department to the ward areas.

Medicines Optimisation and Safety Lead at ULHT, Danielle Sheanon said the green bag scheme could ultimately save time, money and resources, whilst also improving patient experience.

“We encourage all patients to bring their regular medicines in from home. This might include tablets, insulins and inhalers,” said Danielle.

“Knowing what medicines our patients are already taking helps us to make safe, well-informed decisions about future treatments.

“We want the patient journey from admission into hospital through to going home to be smooth and by having medicines available from the time of arrival at hospital, prevents missed doses which can hinder recovery and delay discharge.

“The green bag is a useful reminder that medicines should be transferred safely and securely from home with the patient and then returned if suitable on discharge. It also reduces waste and increases safety and efficiency.”