A team from NHS Ayrshire & Arran has successfully created a system to ensure that people with Parkinson’s get their medication on time while they are in hospital.

Parkinson’s nurse specialist Nick Bryden, who led the team, explains: “The timely administration of medication is hugely important in helping to control symptoms in people with Parkinson’s.

"Guidance states that Parkinson’s medication should be administered within 30 minutes, either side, of the prescribed time which can be challenging within a busy hospital ward environment."

Nick, who works out of Biggart Hospital in Prestwick, added: “When we initially worked with our digital pharmacist, Richard Cottrell, it was to develop a system that would alert us to when a Parkinson’s patient was admitted to hospital.

"It then became clear that we could take the system a step further and use it to monitor if people are on the right medication and whether or not it is being administered at the right time.”

The team worked to develop a further system of clear visual prompts with NHS Digital services, which appear alongside relevant patient details on wards’ electronic whiteboards.

Every patient prescribed Parkinson’s medication has a tulip symbol beside their name which changes colour and flashes when it’s close to the time to administer the medication. The system was initially piloted in a couple of wards and, due to its success, has now been rolled out to almost every ward in Ayrshire and Arran.

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Jennifer Wilson, Nurse Director, said: “Nick and the team’s successful work has led to a marked improvement in the timely administration of Parkinson’s medicines and, therefore, has enabled us to better support patients with Parkinson’s who are admitted to hospital.

"It also provides important support to ward staff - education can now be targeted more efficiently and effectively and the ‘tulip’ system has given staff the tools to administer medications in a timelier manner.”

Nick has been congratulated in the Scottish Parliament for developing the system, and also recently won an advanced project award for his work from the Neurology Academy.

He said: “It’s great to be recognised in this way but this was a real team effort, and the credit belongs to everyone who was involved. We’re just glad to have made a positive difference for patients with Parkinson’s.”

Nick and the team plan to share their work with other health boards in Scotland.

James Jopling, Parkinson's UK Scotland director, said: “It’s brilliant to see the innovative work of the team in Ayrshire helping people with Parkinson’s to get their medication on time in hospital.

"We as a charity are working across the UK to support changes in hospital practice to bring about a better experience for people with Parkinson’s. It’s great to see such a positive example so close to home and we hope to see this kind of work replicated right across Scotland.”