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Assuring Medicines Safety


National organisations such as NHS England, NICE and MHRA share safety alerts and good practice guides to minimise harm from medication errors. Commissioners and clinical leads need systematic ways of assessing medicines safety and engaging with providers across their population. There is considerable scope in primary care and across the interface with secondary care for consistent and assured implementation of safety alerts.


The MSAT™ was developed by the MLCSU Medicines Management and Optimisation (MMO) team as an easy method for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to systematically capture safety alerts, enable commissioners to document actions locally, and enable implementation to be monitored to support assurance on their responsibilities for minimising patient risk. Delivery of this tool is via a standardised process under the direction of the MMO safety lead pharmacist. The MLCSU safety team carry out systematic horizon scanning of medicines safety information from a defined list of resources each month. The MSAT™ is peer reviewed to ensure high quality standards and is produced monthly.

Each month the MLCSU safety team systematically horizon-scan medicines safety information to consider adding to the tool.

The MSAT™ is designed for use by safety leads whether in CCGs or GP practices, networks or federations. The MSAT™ is distributed by email on a monthly basis to CCG designated safety lead and contains the safety alerts received in the last month as well as the previous 11 months.

Organisations can then use the tool to confirm or identify actions for implementation. Actions are agreed through CCG local medicines or quality committees and recorded on the tool. To support organisations we propose actions for consideration which can be adapted to their usual processes. The tool can then be used to monitor implementation as part of a periodic review appropriate to their organisational needs.


Our Medicines Safety Assurance Tool (MSAT™) has helped clinical commissioning groups to take appropriate actions around patient safety.

It allows customers (more than 20 CCGs) to tailor actions and record their decisions. It is simple, intuitive, assured for the high-quality content.

The Medicines Safety Assurance Tool is a highly valued resource for Wolverhampton CCG. MLCSU have worked to improve and develop this tool over a period of time to meet the CCG needs. The tool has proven to be an excellent checklist that helps the CCG take appropriate actions around patient safety. The tool is also used regularly to inform the content of our internal assurance committee report.

David Birch | Head of Medicines Optimisation, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group