WDHB takes the lead in introducing new medication charts

The way in which doctors prescribe medications at Wanganui Hospital has undergone a significant change in recent days.
Wanganui Hospital is one of the country’s first six hospitals to introduce new medication charts.
WDHB medication chart project coordinator Anna Lawson says large decimal points in the dose sections and a block letter format that requires doctors to write the name of a drug in full are two of the most significant changes.
Other changes include space on the front page for recording patients’ allergies and adverse drug reactions and, five coloured sections for recording the types of medications prescribed.
Ms Lawson says the call for improved medication charts was first mooted in 2003. It was agreed that having 21 different charts around New Zealand didn’t make sense.
“Because many New Zealand clinical staff move from hospital to hospital it was considered sensible to have one chart that’s familiar to nurses, doctors and pharmacists nationwide,” Ms Lawson says.
 “A single chart also allows us to have standardised safety features and training.”
The new charts are being introduced to all wards at Wanganui Hospital except mental health where the change will be made at a later date.
Wanganui’s centralAlliance partner the MidCentral District Health Board began using the new medication charts six weeks ago.