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Using expertise to help the Sue Ryder charity improve its medicines management

MLCSU supported the Sue Ryder charity to improve its management and governance of medicines


The Sue Ryder charitable organisation has a portfolio of 10 services, one hub site and central support delivering palliative and neurological care services across the UK. In early 2020, the organisation’s clinical governance group approached MLCSU to scope out what support and advice we could offer in terms of medicines management and medicines governance across the organisation.


Two site visits and face-to-face interviews were conducted and the medicines management systems were audited.

From this information, two anonymised questionnaires were developed, one for Heads of Service and clinical directors via Microsoft (MS) Teams and the other was a medicines governance review designed for a wider audience. 53 responses were received.

Additional stakeholders including pharmacists and business intelligence specialists were interviewed by telephone to discuss the support provided to the services, and their use and application of the Datix database.

Weekly meetings via MS Teams and the production of an interim report ensured the board were kept well informed of all progress.

A full report that included recommendations for next steps for the organisation was presented at the healthcare governance meeting.


MLCSU and Sue Ryder developed an excellent working relationship and both the interim report and full report were well received.

Recommendations included:

  • Increasing the number of medicines management audits in the services
  • Allowing each service to develop its own medicines policy
  • Evaluating the service level agreements with the community pharmacies that provide support to the services
  • Running a scoping exercise to examine senior pharmacist support for the organisation both at central level and within the services
  • Developing a governance framework for non medical prescribers (NMP) with audits of prescribing patterns
  • Further development in the use of Datix with individual benchmarking for both neurological and palliative services.

Sue Ryder was impressed with the work and has approached MLCSU to discuss the provision of pharmacist support to assist with progressing the recommendations in the report.

Sue Ryder commissioned the Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit to perform an assessment of governance in relation to medicines across our charity. It was great to work with people with such knowledge and expertise.

The work was conducted efficiently and feedback from staff at our hospices and neurological care centres was positive with regards to interactions with the team. We were provided with a final report which outlined the good things, but also where we could improve.

Helen and Rob were a pleasure to work with.

Dr Paul Perkins, Sue Ryder Chief Medical Director

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