Have you got your green bag ready for your next hospital stay?

A new green bag initiative has been introduced in NHS Borders to encourage patients to bring in their own medicines with them for hospital stays.

The main aim of introducing the green bag is to keep all of a patient’s medicine, including medicines from home, in one place. This will help to ensure medicines are correctly prescribed in hospital, are available right from the start of a patient’s stay, go with the patient when they are moved to another ward or hospital and to reduce the likelihood of hoarding medicines at home.

So which medicines should go in the green bag? Patients are encouraged to bring all their own medicines, in the original containers to hospital, clinics, GPs and pharmacies when they are having a medicines review. This should include prescribed and purchased medicines such as over the counter remedies and herbal products.

Vince Summers, Deputy Director of Pharmacy for NHS Borders said: “Whether your visit is planned or an emergency you should always use the green bag provided to ensure your routine medicines, and any that are introduced during your hospital stay, are kept with you throughout your hospital journey or medicine review.”

“The green bag will not only reduce the risks of missing or delaying doses but it will also allow patients to continue using the same medicines they use at home.”

A Green bag will be given out at pre-admission clinics and by ambulance staff if you need to go to hospital in an emergency. A Green bag will also be given to you to take your medicines home with you.

The green bag initiative benefits include:

  • reducing medicine related errors by increasing the number of complete medicine histories and quality of the medicines reconciliation process
  • reducing hospital discharge delays by encouraging the use of ‘Patients Own Drugs’
  • reducing hoarding of medicines at home
  • reducing omitted and delayed doses
  • allowing patients to maintain the familiarity of their own medicines
  • patient’s medicines are always moved along the care pathway with the patient
  • medicines changes are shared with care providers
  • medicines prescribed on admission correspond to those that the patient was taking before admission
  • healthcare staff understand how patients manage their medicines at home