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Posted 20 Feb 2015 in Medication

Press release from Hon Peter Dunne

The Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Let’s PLAN for better care pharmacy week is a great opportunity for New Zealanders to discover how much they can learn about their medicines from their pharmacist, says Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.

The week, 22 to 28 February, is part of the Commission’s Open for better care national patient safety campaign, which partners with First, Do No Harm in the Northern region and is currently focused on reducing harm from high-risk medicines.

"Pharmacists have a pivotal role to play in helping people understand their medicines and use them wisely. Let’s PLAN pharmacy week will be highlighting this and encouraging people to draw on the expertise to be found in every pharmacy," says Mr Dunne.

The week, which is being supported by the Pharmaceutical Society and the Pharmacy Guild, is an extension of the Commission’s Let’s PLAN for better care health literacy approach – which includes an A4 tear-off sheet available for distribution by general practices, pharmacies and others to help patients plan for their next health care visit.

During the week, pharmacies will be displaying a poster that promotes the questions Let’s PLAN suggests people ask pharmacists about their medicine, including:

  • What is the medicine for?
  • What is its name?
  • How and when do I take it?
  • How long do I need to take it for?
  • What could happen if I stop taking it?
  • What are the side effects? What should I do if I get these?

They will also be distributing Let’s PLAN itself, as well as fact sheets, including ones on high risk medicines insulin, warfarin and methotrexate. Copies of the Commission brochure Taking Your Medicine Safely will be among the free resources too.

"Pharmacies have been invited to enter a competition for the best Let’s PLAN pharmacy week display, which I will judge."

"I look forward to seeing the creative ways they get the week’s important message across to their customers. The more people appreciate pharmacists are there to answer questions the better," Mr Dunne said.