The Scottish Patient Safety Programme – Medicines aims to bring together improvement activity related to medicines from acute care, primary care, maternity & children’s service and mental health. This is a unique opportunity to consider the safer use of medicines from a whole system approach, focusing on the patient as they move between care settings and home.

The focus of the SPSP Medicines programme includes the following priority areas:

Developed from our Stakeholder Exchange event in 2018 we have identified 6 levers for change that will inform our work moving forward. The work will be titled to align with one or more of these levers.

  • Patient empowerment            
  • Work processes
  • QI support
  • Recognition for excellence
  • Education 
  • Digital IT systems


2018-2019 WebEx Series 

The SPSP Medicines team is delighted to be supporting a monthly WebEx series for 2018-19. For full details please see the series page here. A list of dates for the series is available here


Patient Stories (November 2017)

The sharing and learning of stories when things go wrong are a powerful tool to drive improvement. A patient story template (Word Doc) is now available to support the sharing of stories following harm due to medicines, and the opportunities for improvement. The SPSP Medicines team would welcome anonymised patient stories for further sharing across Scotland. Please email

A Whole System Approach

The SPSP team facilitated a session at the 2016 NHSScotland Event focusing on Systems Thinking as an improvement approach to reduce harm due to medicines. Please access the presentation and related resources


Stakeholder Exchange 2018

SPSP Medicines held a Stakeholder Exchange on Thursday 8th February 2018 in COSLA, Edinburgh. The aim was to bring together colleagues from NHS Boards and health and social care to share:

  • The achievements of the first 2 years of SPSP Medicines.
  • Discuss national and international strategies for achieving medicines safety.
  • Inform future priorities.

The programme for the day, outcome report, evaluation report, and presentations from the event can be found here

Medicines Reconciliation Summit 2017

SPSP Medicines held a Medicines Reconciliation Summit on Thursday 2 March 2017 in Edinburgh. The event aim was to bring together leads for medicines reconciliation from NHS boards and national key stakeholders to:
1. Share efforts to date supporting the testing, implementing and spread of medicines reconciliation across the health care system in Scotland.
2. Learn about experiences outwith Scotland.
3. Debate current challenges in the testing, implementing and spread of medicines reconciliation. 
4. Consider next steps for 2017/18.

The programme for the day, evaluation report and presentations from the event can be found here.

SPSP Medicines Learning Session One 2016

On Wednesday 24 February 2016, we hosted the first national medicines event as part of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme. The event, chaired by Pedro Delgado (Executive Director, IHI), focused on harm due to medicines from a whole system approach, and gave delegates an opportunity to learn and share from each other. The one-day event included key note speakers and a series of breakout sessions focusing on:
- Reducing medicines harm across transitions
- Innovative improvement projects happening in Scotland to reduce harm to due medicines
- Leadership and culture
- Improvement tools
- Engaging patients in improvement activity

To view the flash report, presentations, storyboards and pictures from the day please click here

A Whole System Approach 2016

The SPSP team facilitated a session at the 2016 NHSScotland Event focussing on Systems Thinking as an improvement approach to reduce harm due to medicines. Please access the presentation and related resources.

Medicines Reconciliation

The SPSP Medicines Clinical Advisory Group has developed a national driver diagram for medicines reconciliation.

The operational definitions for measuring medicines reconciliation on admission and discharge have been developed based on the Chief Medical Officer letter issued in September 2013 (SGHD/CMO(2013)18)

Operational definitions for medicines reconciliation in General Practice can be found here. The operational definitions for Community Pharmacy will be available shortly.

High Risk Medicines

A discussion framework has been produced to support local teams discuss and prioritise improvement activities related to high risk medicines, to consider interventions to improve the prevention, recognition and response to harm due to high risk medicines. The discussion framework can be found here

Patient Stories

To support learning and sharing following harm due to medicines a patient story template (Word Doc) has been developed for use across Scotland. The SPSP Medicines team would welcome anonymised patient stories for further sharing across Scotland. Please email


A medicines ‘infographic’ has been developed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland as a prompt for healthcare professionals when discussing the safer use of medicines in Scotland. This resource provides key facts and figures regarding medicines in Scotland, and outlines key national initiatives that aim to ensure the safer use of medicines. NHS boards are encouraged to also note initiatives that are being supported locally.

Patient Involvement

SPSP Medicines aims to highlight resources and initiatives to support patients being involved in managing their own medicines.

Medicine Sick Day Rules card - To complement the publication of the updated Polypharmacy Guidance (April 2018), NHSScotland and the Scottish Patient Safety Programme are making the card available nationally. 

Not Sure? Just Ask card - Aimed to empower patients to gain knowledge and understanding about their medicines by providing key questions to ask when starting a new medicine and for existing medicines.
For more information and to download the card, please click on the link.


Follow us on Twitter: @SPSPMedicines

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Members of the Medicines team



Name Position
Joanne Matthews Head of Scottish Patient Safety Programme
Aravindan Veiraiah National Clinical Lead
David Maxwell Improvement Advisor
Lorraine Donaldson Project Officer
Kirsty Allan Administrative Officer