Wonder Drugs Roadshow – a success

23 Jan

Mosi 2014_children buttons activity

Earlier in the year we set ourselves the challenge of getting out to new communities to talk about the Greater Manchester PSTRC’s work on Medication Safety. Our main aim was to show the public how important it is to check their medicines to increase patient safety.

A team soon formed, which included researchers, RUG members and people specialising in public engagement and we dreamt up ideas and created activities that would get people thinking. We wanted to engage with people of all ages and with different interests, so we needed to be inventive.

Our efforts resulted in the Wonder Drugs Roadshow being held as part of Manchester Science Festival.

Our first outing with the roadshow took us to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). Research User Group member Carolyn Gamble had been part of the planning group for the series of events and welcomed the opportunity to be able to facilitate some of the activities at MOSI; “What a fantastic experience, we had hundreds of families join in the activities – literally hundreds!  I had some engaging conversations with people of all ages throughout the day about medication safety.  I mainly facilitated the prescription filling activity whereby people could step into the role of a pharmacist, and fill out a prescription using buttons and a pill box.  Kids of ages were excited  to wear lab coats, read the instructions carefully and fill out the prescription against the clock accurately– many had a return visit to see if they could “beat”  their previous attempt, or each other!   It was loads of fun for everyone involved, whilst at the same time we were able to deliver our medication safety messages to people in a memorable fashion.”

At the Forum Centre in Wythenshawe, latest recruit to the RUG Jackie Nightingale joined us. She said “This was my first experience of being involved in this kind of event and it was a really enjoyable and positive experience. I honestly think that we had a positive impact on those that came to talk to us, in getting them to think more about their own prescriptions, how they are issued and dispensed and the things they can do to look after themselves.”

The final stop on the Roadshow was in Salford, at the Pendleton Gateway Centre. Here we were joined by RUG member Faith Mann who commented; “Pendleton Gateway isn’t the sort of place where people willingly stop to talk to anyone standing behind an exhibition stand, in case they’re trying to sell something, so we had to actively engage passers-by. Once they knew what we were doing, people were happy to stop to talk and try the quizzes.   The most powerful activity was the prescription checking quiz. People were shocked to find they’d missed some of the errors and picked up the message that we need to take responsibility for checking our prescriptions and not leave it all up to the pharmacist and dispenser – lovely though they are!”

Across the three venues we visited we spoke with over a thousand people from different corners of Greater Manchester. Many of whom had stories to tell us about problems they’ve had with their own medicines and they explained to us how they went about dealing with those problems.

We are extremely grateful to Kate Dack and her team from Nowgen for helping to stage this series of events, to the staff and students at Manchester Health Academy School who designed and made artwork about the safety of medicines to showcase at the roadshow and to our own Pharmacist and PhD Student, Hayley Gorton who designed a range of activities to get people actively involved in the work of the PSTRC.

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