Emergency summit on time critical medication

Patient groups, healthcare professionals and NHS England came together to take action to ensure people in hospital get their medication on time, every time.

Last September, we relaunched our Get It On Time campaign to ensure that everyone in a hospital gets their medication on time, every time. Read our Every Minute Counts report.

Our community has told us of the sometimes devastating impact of not getting their medication on time, which is why we hosted an emergency summit supported by Diabetes UK, Epilepsy Action, National AIDS Trust, Rethink Mental Illness and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, to address this vital patient safety issue.

What’s the issue?

Former BBC journalist and podcaster Mark Mardell, who chaired the summit, gave a compelling introduction to the problem.

People living with Parkinson’s and other conditions like diabetes, epilepsy or HIV need to get their time critical medication on time, otherwise they are at risk of becoming seriously unwell.

The 2022 Parkinson’s Audit found that only 42% of people with Parkinson’s admitted to hospitals in England always got their medication on time, every time.

This is a systemic issue and it isn’t just affecting people living with Parkinson’s. We issued a joint statement with other national charities and health professional bodies calling on the government to take action.

What was discussed?

Hugh, whose father lives with Parkinson’s, shared his father’s distressing experiences while in hospital and demonstrated why this campaign is so important.

We also heard from Parkinson’s nurse Nick Bryden, who discussed his health board’s (NHS Ayrshire and Arran) work to roll out an e-prescribing system that has seen a 35% increase in Parkinson’s medication being given on time.

The discussions then centred on how hospitals in England should: 

  • have policies to allow people to manage their own medication
  • provide training for key members of staff on time critical medication 
  • be supported to develop their own e-prescribing systems to allow them to give medication on time every time.

Next steps

No one with Parkinson's should fear going to hospital and not getting their essential medication. Our summit made it clear that urgent action is needed to tackle this important issue. We will build on the positive discussions at the summit and continue to work with NHS England and our charity partners to ensure that people in hospital on time critical medicines get their medication on time, every time.