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April 2016 
New software allows patients easier access to emergency prescriptions
Service will reduce demands on Out of Hours
New software developed by the NHS Wales Informatics Service will make it easier for patients to gain an emergency supply of their regular medication.
Patients will be able to obtain emergency repeat medicines directly from a participating community pharmacy, reducing demands on the out of hours services.
The software will be used to record the medicines dispensed and to share that information with the patient's GP. 
Information about the emergency medication dispensed will also be available to other pharmacies to support patient safety and avoid duplicate supply.
The service will be trialled during the spring with roll out across Wales later this year.
Evaluation of a similar emergency medicines service in North East England found considerable cost savings compared with prescriptions issued by emergency and out of hours' doctors. It also identified that 15% of calls to the out of hours' service relate to emergency medication at busy times, such as bank holidays.
The new emergency medicines service is part of the Welsh Government's Choose Pharmacy initiative, which promotes the use of community pharmacies as a first "port-of-call" for patients, particularly for common ailments, such as constipation, dyspepsia, hay fever, coughs and sore throats.
It also allows electronic discharge information from hospitals to be viewed by a patient's nominated community pharmacist and for the pharmacist to undertake an electronic discharge medicines review. The pharmacist can only view the discharge information with the patient's consent.
Pharmacies in the forefront
How a community pharmacy in the Valleys is using Choose Pharmacy to improve care
Like most across Wales, GP practices in Aberdare are busy places. The three practices in the town centre serve a population of over 32,000. To help take some of the pressure off GP practices, the Welsh Government has introduced a new service called 'Choose Pharmacy'. It means patients can walk into Sheppard's Pharmacy in Aberdare town centre and receive advice and free treatment for common minor illnesses and ailments such as indigestion, back pain, sore throats and hay fever.
On our NHS Wales Informatics Service website, read about how Sheppard's Pharmacy, like hundreds of other community pharmacies across Wales, is using Choose Pharmacy to relieve the workload for GPs while making it easier for patients to find quick healthcare attention.
My Health Text to trial GP appointment cancellations
New service automatically removes appointment from GP system freeing up time for other patients
An added feature to the My Health Text service is being trialled. It will allow patients to text back 'cancel' to an appointment reminder, and for that appointment to then be automatically removed from the GP practice system - giving another patient an opportunity to use the appointment. The trial is starting with an EMIS site.
The My Health Text Messaging service allows clinicians to send health care invitations and appointment reminders to patients by SMS text messages.
An inquiry by the Welsh Assembly's public accounts committee found patients in Wales fail to turn up for more than one in ten GP appointments - that's nearly 600,000 missed appointments annually.
Ewch i'n gwefan am fersiwn iaith Gymraeg o'r cylchlythyr hwn.
Data development
New website supports improvements to data quality

With the amount of data NHS Wales collects ensuring the data is of high quality is more important than ever.
Now a national Information Quality Initiative is under way to improve the development and use of data standards in operational systems and national submissions.
To support the initiative a new website has been launched by the NHS Wales Informatics Service and Welsh Government, which sets out its purpose, why it's needed and the work programme to deliver real change.

"Information is the lifeblood of the healthcare sector, As well as the obvious primary use of information in treating patients, there are a range of secondary uses, including public health surveillance, performance monitoring, service planning/improvement and financial costing," says David Hawes, Information Standards Manager, for the Informatics Service.

"This initiative places emphasis on grassroots improvements to data collected for use in strategic national systems. All too often, improvements to data quality are attempted at the data warehousing or reporting stages. In order to make real inroads, there must be a focus on improvements at the point of data entry. This can only be achieved through collaborative working both within and between organisations." 
Informatics in Words
"I am writing to inform you of the fantastic work of your team who has obtained the surgical activity data across Wales for several procedures. We are now aware for the first time of the average length of stays for these procedures over the past six years."
An email from a doctor at Public Health Wales directed at our Enhanced Recovery Partnership Programme team, who work with clinicians to supply required and valuable data to support their work. The data mentioned in this email will be used for a national Enhanced Recovery Partnership Programme that supports quality of care after patient surgery.
Informatics in Numbers
Last month (March 2016)  2,739,921 tests across Wales were requested and processed by the Welsh Laboratory Management System (WLMS). 
This year, for the first time, all haematology, biochemistry, immunology, microbiology and blood sciences pathology departments across Wales are linked via the WLMS. 
These labs can now provide quick access to test results regardless of where the patient receives care. 
Gwybodeg yng Nhgymraeg

A Welsh language version
of this newsletter is available
If you would like our monthly newsletter emailed to you in Welsh, please contact us at: 
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NHS Wales Informatics Service | Tŷ Glan-yr-Afon | 21 Cowbridge Road East | Cardiff | CF11 9AD | Wales