Mairead McErlean

Mairead McErlean


About Mairead McErlean

Mairead is a pharmacist by background and have extensive clinical experience working in various NHS trusts and the private sector across London. Currently, Mairead is working as part of North Central London’s Medicines Efficiency Programme; involved in driving improvement related to optimising medicines as part of the Sustainability and Transformation Programme (STP).

With the expanding roles of pharmacists in healthcare, Mairead has recognised the importance of adopting a more system wide perspective and believe digital technology is at the heart of future healthcare solutions.



Problem: Mairead wants to reduce the number of prescribing errors in general practice to improve medicines safety.

Solution:  Pharmacist-led information technology intervention for medication errors (PINCER), which includes a search tool identifying at risk patients, so that corrective action can be taken to reduce hazardous prescribing. It involves face-to-face consultation with GP practices and a multi-faceted quality improvement (QI) intervention to be implemented at scale. Using the tool, it is possible for practices to view their results in relation to other practices within their CCG and see improvements over time.

Scale: As part of NCL STP, our team’s sphere of influence would extend to five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington:
• There are 231 GP practices in the region.
• They serve a total population of approximately 1.44 million residents.
• The estimated number of potential medication errors is 185,000 through extrapolation of the numbers identified from the large multi-centre trial (480,942 patients from 72 GP practices experiencing 63,337 events (13.5% medication error rate)).

Desired impact: Results published in the Lancet showed that PINCER is a clinically and cost-effective method for reducing a range of important and commonly made medication errors in primary care. There was a 44% reduction in proportion of patients with at least one medication monitoring error. Further evidence estimates that there is an average cost reduction of £2,679 per practice from avoided hospital admissions. For NCL, this could be approximately £600k cost avoidance.

Progress to date: PINCER has been selected for national adoption and spread across all 15 Academic Health Sciences Networks during 2018-2020. Mairead will be working with UCL Partners on the NCL roll out. 4 out of 5 CCGs have agreed to take forward for 19/20. Once a timeline has been agreed, discussion with relevant stakeholders will occur to agree an implementation schedule.