A major conference to give further stimulus to providing patients with better access to information about medicines was attended by a wide range of groups, including the Department of Health (DH), patient groups, the health voluntary sector and the pharmaceutical industry when it was held in London today.
The conference, entitled Mind the Gap, explored the issues of what patients need in terms of medicines information and how various initiatives can help provide the information they want.
“Patients who understand more about their condition, the treatments they undergo and the medicines they take are better equipped to take charge of their own healthcare,” said Nigel Brooksby, President of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), who opened the conference. “By engaging in an informed dialogue with healthcare professionals, patients are more likely to take an active role in managing their condition.”
In particular, the conference focused on the pilot schemes for ‘information prescriptions’, which are a major component of national health policy as a means of providing patients with good quality, reliable information.
The DH has funded 20 pilot schemes and, addressing the conference, Anne Joshua of NHS Direct provided insight into one of these which focuses on the provision of medicines information. A resource being used in this pilot are Medicines Guides in specific disease areas – asthma, epilepsy and skin conditions - developed through a unique partnership between the pharmaceutical industry, DH, the NHS, patient and professional groups.
The conference, attended by some 100 delegates, was organised by the ABPI in association with the Ask About Medicines initiative, Cancerbackup and Diabetes UK.