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Patient choice rewarded at Ask About Medicines Awards 2008

The winners of the Ask About Medicines Awards for Excellence 2008 are FD Santé, Baxter Healthcare, Biogen Idec, Evelina Children's Hospital & NHS Direct, Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust, Joan Hartley, The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, and NIHR Medicines for Children Research Network.

Ask About Medicines is the independent campaign to increase people's involvement in decisions about their use of medicines. Its mission is to achieve lasting change by working with partners to encourage better communication between people and their health professionals and change expectations so that asking questions about medicines becomes the norm.

The campaign aims to help people ask the questions that will enable them to make informed choices about medicine-taking, including whether they want to take medicines at all. It is funded through a mix of public, private and voluntary sector sources.

All the winning entries demonstrate excellence in increasing people's understanding about medicines and medicine taking, and achieving better communication between people and their healthcare professionals.

The full details are:

  • Category A. Medicines information for medicine users and the public:
    FD Santé and Baxter Healthcare for the Haemophiliacare Website AND Biogen Idec for the Avonex Plus Programme
  • Category B. Improving communication about medicines between healthcare professionals and patients or medicine users (in association with Mencap):
    Evelina Children's Hospital & NHS Direct for Medicines Information Prescriptions for Parents and Carers of Children
  • Category C. Most innovative approach to medicines information (sponsored by IMS Health):
    Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust for "Giving medicines to children" podcasts
  • Category D. Medicines information for diverse populations (sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited):
    Joan Hartley for her project on Medicines and the Deaf Community
  • Category E. Medicines information for carers or nonhealthcare professionals working with patients or medicine users:
    The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow for their Renal Medicines Booklet
  • Category F. Supporting Ask About Medicines messages (sponsored by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain):
    NIHR Medicines for Children Research Network for the Children and Young Persons Advisory Group

Ann Keen MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Health Services at the Department of Health, who presented the Awards, said: "I am delighted that so many excellent initiatives providing high-quality information about medicines are being implemented across the NHS.

"Good communication between NHS staff and patients is essential, and it is great that that is recognised in these awards.

"Patient choice was placed firmly on the health agenda in the NHS Next Stage Review, and it is good to see that patients are being given a good understanding of their medicines so that they can be involved in decisions about their treatment."

Entries were reviewed by a panel of 20 judges, including health professionals, patients and lay members.

Melinda Letts, Director of Ask About Medicines and one of the judges, commented: "Every time a person takes a medicine, or decides not to do so, they make an active choice. With the increasing power and scope of modern medicines, it's crucial that those choices and decisions are as well informed as they possibly can be.

"That's why we celebrate and promote excellence in increasing understanding and communication about medicines through the Ask About Medicines Awards for Excellence."

The awards, developed by Ask About Medicines in partnership with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), are now in their third year.

Chris Brinsmead, President of the ABPI, commented: "The ABPI is delighted to support the Ask About Medicines Awards for a third year, as they offer an excellent insight into the exciting ways that high-quality information is being delivered to patients.

"The award winners' work will enable others in this field to view best practice in medicines information and communication."

A video detailing the work of all shortlisted entries will soon be available for viewing from the Ask About Medicines website, below.

Ask About Medicines