New regional centre for best practice in the use of medicines launched in Antrim

A new regional innovation centre, which aims to ensure better health outcomes for the population through the consistent delivery of best practice relating to the use of medicines, was today launched at Antrim Area Hospital.

Much has been done in recent years to improve the way medicines are used and Northern Ireland is now recognised as one of the leading regions in Europe in addressing the health and social care needs of the older population through innovation in medicines optimisation.

However, it is felt that more action is needed to gain the best outcomes for patients from their medicines and to ensure clinical effectiveness, whilst both reducing avoidable adverse events and waste.

Speaking at the launch of the Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre, Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety said:‘Our growing and ageing population, along with an increasing prevalence of chronic illness and unhealthy lifestyles, has placed an unprecedented burden on services, as well as a high demand for medicines.

‘But there is a clear vision for the HSC in Northern Ireland. We are redesigning our HSC services to better meet the needs of the individual, improve public health and social wellbeing, improve quality and safety and ensure value.

‘We must be innovative about the way we work across the HSC and it is vital that we look at how new models of care and technologies can be used to help people to manage their own health.

‘Through research, innovation, quality improvement and knowledge transfer, the MOIC will support better patient outcomes by developing and sharing best practice with regards to medicines use. This work is invaluable and will contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of people not only in Northern Ireland, but throughout the UK and across Europe.’

Also speaking at the event, Chairman of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Bob McCann said:

‘Our strategic plan reflects the need to invest in exploring, promoting and adopting opportunities for innovative ways of working and raising quality. We are therefore delighted to host this excellent facility and I look forward to it making a significant impact not just on the Northern Ireland stage but also further afield.’

Although the new centre, which is part of a new innovation and education facility at the Northern Trust, will initially develop and test solutions for the benefit of the local health and social care system, there is also the potential for these to be developed commercially, marketed and sold to other countries.

Notes to Editors

The Medicines Optimisation Innovation Centre will provide a focus for developing a systematic approach to finding and testing solutions for the HSC and will have the following functions:

  • Project managing an innovation programme of research and development projects
  • Developing, testing and evaluating solutions to pre-commissioning stage
  • Supporting successful translation into HSC service delivery and commissioning
  • Helping projects to access and utilise available funding streams
  • Providing a regional centre of expertise for research and service development in medicines optimisation and post-implementation review of service delivery
  • Building local expertise and competence in developing and translating research into practice
  • Developing a hosting programme and also expediting knowledge transfer to other to other countries
  • Facilitating  a continuous cycle of quality improvement within the HSC in the area of medicines optimisation

The centre will also have wider benefits, combining pharmaceutical and R&D skills with technology and business acumen to:

Provide evidence-based solutions for medicines optimisation which could be developed commercially, marketed and sold to other countries with the HSC as a beneficiary

  • Promote NI as a leading area for medicines optimisation R&D and strengthen NI’s four star EU reference status bid
  • Attract inward investment into a NI Medicines Optimisation Innovation Fund/Programme
  • Increase collaborative working with older established research networks in the UK, Europe and internationally

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Nick Carson on 07834 702424