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Patient Safety Week 2017

Patient Safety Week 5-11 November 2017

Let’s talk medication safety is about encouraging better communication between patients, whānau, and carers with their health professionals.

It also addresses a more specific focus on medication safety like ‘the triple whammy’ a combination of three commonly used medicines that can damage kidneys, and highlights the World Health Organization’s global patient safety challenge, which features medication safety over a five-year period, beginning this year.

Between 2011 and 2016, ACC accepted over 5,800 Treatment Injury claims related to medication errors and reactions. ACC’s chief clinical advisor Peter Robinson says while many of these injuries are minor, a small number are severe, with long-term effects on patients, and are a priority for ACC to prevent.

Patient Safety Week 2017 has a focus on medication safety. As part of this, consumers are being encouraged to ask clinicians questions about their medication including:

  • What is my medicine called?
  • What is it for?
  • When and how do I take it?

For patients, before taking any medication it’s always important you know what it is you are taking and how it could affect you. Always ask your pharmacist, doctor or nurse if you have any concerns or questions about taking medicines and remember there are some great resources online that HQSC have listed here on their website.

They also have a great video on One Simple Solution for Medication Safety.

More about the ‘triple whammy’

Over 22,000 New Zealanders aged 65 and over are taking a potentially dangerous combination of medicines that could seriously damage their kidneys. Known as the ‘triple whammy’, the risk comes when medicines for heart failure or blood pressure, water tablets and pain relief/anti-inflammatory medicines are taken together.

The Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Atlas of Healthcare Variation shows over 22,000 New Zealanders aged 65 and over are taking this combination of medicines each year. The Commission, in partnership with ACC, is highlighting the risk of this combination as part of Patient Safety Week.

In 2016, the Atlas of Healthcare Variation showed for Waikato DHB that 3.6% (2,210) of people over the age of 65 received triple whammy. This places Waikato DHB 8th in the country out of 20 DHBs.

You can read HQSC’s full media release about the risk of kidney harm because of the triple whammy medicine, more about each of the medicines and what to do when taking this combination.


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Patient Safety Week 2017
Over 22,000 NZers at risk of kidney harm because of medicine ‘triple whammy’