Who is responsible for your medicines?

A lot of people—including you!

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Doctors prescribe and review your medicines daily to make sure they’re having the intended effect. 

Pharmacists will record a comprehensive medication history. They will then check to make sure your regular items have been prescribed as intended and follow up any differences with the doctor. They will also try and check your medication chart when new medicines are prescribed to make sure they are OK to take with your existing medicines.   

Nurses will prepare your medicines and give them to you while you are an inpatient. During your stay in hospital it is important that we know what medicines you have taken.

DO NOT take any of your own medicines during your stay unless you have spoken to your doctor before-hand. Non essential herbal medicines and vitamins may often be withheld during the inpatient stay, however if you wish to continue taking your own supply then please discuss this with your doctor.  These medicines can usually be restarted safely on discharge, if you have concerns ask your doctor.

Your nurse is required to store your medicines safely during your stay in hospital, so you may be asked to hand-over your medicines for safe keeping.

Please REMEMBER to ask for them back before discharge.  

All nurses should check the “5 Rights” before giving any medicine to you:

  1. Right patient: make sure doctors and nurses check your ID band before giving you any medicine to prevent you been given medicine meant for another patient.

  2. Right time: know what time you should receive your medicine and if you don’t get it, then speak up.

  3. Right drug: don’t be afraid to tell your nurse or doctor if you think you are about to receive the wrong medicine.

  4. Right dose: tell your nurse or doctor if you feel unwell after being given a medicine.  Ask for immediate help if you think you are having a side effect or reaction to a medicine.

  5. Right route: You may be given IV (intravenous) fluids. Read the bag to find out what is in it.  Ask your nurse how long it should take for the liquid to run out. Tell the nurse if the bag is dripping too fast or too slow.  

If you have concerns you’ve been given a medicine to take that does not look like your usual medicine, please check with the nurse before taking it.

Speak up if you have any concerns at all
Talking about medicines in hospital