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Newport care home residents benefit from ground-breaking joint healthcare initiative

A joint initiative aimed at broadening the expertise of care home managers in the Newport area when it comes to administering vital medication to residents has been hailed as “hugely successful.”

In 2015 Newport City Council approached the Wales Centre for Pharmacy Professional Education (WCPPE) – now part of Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) – with a proposal. 

The council had recognised that, although highly dedicated, the majority of care home managers did not possess the vast background knowledge necessary to administer medicine to residents. 

Eager to put that right, proactive council managers asked HEIW for support. Over the past four years, HEIW’s pharmacy team have worked alongside Newport City Council’s health and social care team on a wide range of support including assessing the competency of care home managers against National Occupational Standards (NOS), plus assessing care home staff working within their own teams.

As a result, 15 care home managers in the Newport area have now completed the City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma Unit 616: Administer Medication to Individuals and Monitor the Effects qualification. In a questionnaire, 100% of care home managers said their confidence had grown when it came to administering medicines, with 100% declaring they were now more confident monitoring residents’ medications. 

Council managers have also reported that the initiative – the first of its kind anywhere in Wales – has not only helped raise standards within care homes but been recognised by other councils, impressed at the positive feedback from care home staff working in and around Newport. 

“This has been a hugely successful initiative demonstrating how organisations can work together to benefit individuals living in a care home setting,” says Wendy Penny, Head of Pharmacy Technician Training at HEIW, dedicated to educating, training and shaping the healthcare workforce in Wales.

“Together, we’ve worked hard to raise the levels of awareness and expertise of staff administering medicines in Newport City Council care homes. It’s about ensuring the safe and effective administration of medication, from using an inhaler or administering cream right through to providing the latest up-to-date reference books for managers and their staff.

“Full credit must be given to Newport City Council’s health and social care team who sought our advice and support, recognising such a partnership could only enhance the service that care homes provide to residents. It would be wonderful to see other local authorities across Wales follow their example.” 

Kathleen Giles, Staff Development Officer (Adult Social Services) at Newport City Council, adds: “This multi-disciplinary partnership has developed quality assessors and, therefore, safe practice within Newport City Council’s residential homes.

“Fifteen care home managers have completed the City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma Unit 616 having been assessed by HEIW pharmacy technicians. To date, those care home managers have gone on to assess 17 care home staff working within their own teams.

“This has resulted in those staff safely and competently administering medication to vulnerable people, in line with Newport City Council guidance and care Inspectorate Wales inspections.”