International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 303–309 | Cite as

Medication reconciliation by a pharmacy technician in a mental health assessment unit

  • Kay Brownlie
  • Carl Schneider
  • Roger Culliford
  • Chris Fox
  • Alexis Boukouvalas
  • Cathy Willan
  • Ian D. MaidmentEmail author
Research Article


Background Medication discrepancies are common when patients cross organisational boundaries. However, little is known about the frequency of discrepancies within mental health and the efficacy of interventions to reduce discrepancies. Objective To evaluate the impact of a pharmacy-led reconciliation service on medication discrepancies on admissions to a secondary care mental health trust. Setting In-patient mental health services. Methods Prospective evaluation of pharmacy technician led medication reconciliation for admissions to a UK Mental Health NHS Trust. From March to June 2012 information on any unintentional discrepancies (dose, frequency and name of medication); patient demographics; and type and cause of the discrepancy was collected. The potential for harm was assessed based on two scenarios; the discrepancy was continued into primary care, and the discrepancy was corrected during admission. Logistic regression identified factors associated with discrepancies. Main outcome measure Mean number of discrepancies per admission corrected by the pharmacy technician. Results Unintentional medication discrepancies occurred in 212 of 377 admissions (56.2 %). Discrepancies involving 569 medicines (mean 1.5 medicines per admission) were corrected. The most common discrepancy was omission (n = 464). Severity was assessed for 114 discrepancies. If the discrepancy was corrected within 16 days the potential harm was minor in 71 (62.3 %) cases and moderate in 43 (37.7 %) cases whereas if the discrepancy was not corrected the potential harm was minor in 27 (23.7 %) cases and moderate in 87 (76.3 %) cases. Discrepancies were associated with both age and number of medications; the stronger association was age. Conclusions Medication discrepancies are common within mental health services with potentially significant consequences for patients. Trained pharmacy technicians are able to reduce the frequency of discrepancies, improving safety.


Continuity of care Medication reconciliation Medication safety Mental health United Kingdom 



We acknowledge the support from both ward staff and pharmacy staff (including Hilary Scott, Chief Pharmacist).



Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kay Brownlie
    • 1
  • Carl Schneider
    • 2
  • Roger Culliford
    • 1
  • Chris Fox
    • 3
    • 4
  • Alexis Boukouvalas
    • 5
  • Cathy Willan
    • 6
  • Ian D. Maidment
    • 7
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Basildon Mental Health UnitSouth Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation TrustBasildonUK
  2. 2.Faculty of PharmacyThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Norwich Medical SchoolUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  4. 4.Julian HospitalNorfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation TrustNorwichUK
  5. 5.Aston UniversityAston TriangleUK
  6. 6.Rochford HospitalSouth Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation TrustRochfordUK
  7. 7.Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA)Aston UniversityAston TriangleUK
  8. 8.Pharmacy Department, Life and Health Sciences SchoolAston UniversityAston TriangleUK

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