The government is calling on the multiples to appoint leaders to oversee the reporting of medication errors as part of a "step change" in improving patient safety.
Multiples should appoint a superintendent who would be responsible for overseeing the reporting of medication errors from September in England and Wales, NHS England and the MHRA said in a patient safety alert issued last week (March 20).
They should also nominate a medication safety officer (MSO) to join the newly established National Medication Safety Network and the National Devices Safety Network, which aim to improve communication and feedback on reporting safety issues across the NHS.
The appointed MSO would act as the main contact for NHS England and MHRA as well as identify an existing or new multi-professional group to review incident reports and act locally to improve medication and device safety.
A superintendent would be responsible for overseeing the reporting of medication errors to help improve patient safety, says NHS England and MHRA
More on medicine errors
The alert also called for community pharmacies to continue to report medication errors to the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS), report device errors to the MHRA's online system and "take action" to improve reporting locally.
The alert was in response to a "number of strategic drivers," the MHRA said, and followed a 20-day consultation in November last year.
The Francis report into the hospital failings at Mid Staffordshire hospital and the inquiry into the medicine watchdog's handling of the PIP breast implant scandal had recommended "taking steps to maximise the quality and quantity of adverse incident reports from healthcare organisations", it said.
NHS England's director of patient safety Mike Durkin said the move towards improving the reporting of medication errors was a "step change" in the government's approach to patient safety.
The MSOs and newly formed networks would "enormously increase" NHS England's ability to improve safety by "broadening" their reach and establishing channels for sharing and feedback.
The MHRA's director of vigilance and risk management of medicines June Raine said the move would "strengthen the reporting and learning" from medication errors and device incidents.
NHS England was working in collaboration with the pharmaceutical and devices industry through the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry and the Association of British Healthcare Industries, it said.
Do you think the plans will improve patient safety ?