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Time critical medication guides for healthcare professionals

The Parkinson’s Excellence Network has launched three time critical medication guides to support hospital and care home staff to make sure everyone with Parkinson’s who is in hospital or a care home receives their medication on time, every time. This means within 30 minutes of the prescribed time.

Missed or even slightly delayed medication can cause stress, anxiety, immobility and severe tremors. It can even be fatal.

These free guides are available to download from the Parkinson’s UK website. The guides aim to support health professionals to deliver time critical medication on time, every time for people with Parkinson’s. They can also support people with Parkinson’s with medicine management in preparation for a hospital stay. They are suitable for use by NHS staff across the UK.

Members of the Time Critical Parkinson’s Medication Advisory Group, chaired by Patsy Cotton, a retired Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Parkinson’s, have collaborated on the new guides:

  • Time critical medications in Parkinson’s guide for NHS ward staff
  • Swallowing guide for the nurse in charge and ward staff guide
  • Hospital pharmacy time critical Parkinson’s medication guide

The guides have been launched by the Parkinson’s Excellence Network, which is supported, funded and facilitated by Parkinson’s UK. The Parkinson’s Excellence Network helps healthcare professionals to better support people with the condition.

Parkinson’s UK recently found that only 42% of people with Parkinson’s received their medication on time, every time when admitted to hospital in England last year. Data from Freedom of Information requests sent to NHS Hospital Trusts in England by Parkinson’s UK also found:

  • Just half (52%) of NHS Trusts provide training on time-critical medication to staff.
  • One in four NHS Trusts in England does not have policies that allow people to take their own medication in hospitals.
  • NHS Trusts are not required to monitor or report missed or delayed doses of medication, and therefore unaware of the need to take action.

Dr. Rowan Wathes, Associate Director of Policy & Health Strategy at Parkinson’s UK, said: “The NHS is a system under intense pressure with staff more stretched than ever. We know that healthcare professionals work incredibly hard and want to do all they can for people with Parkinson’s.

“We hope that the new guides, developed in collaboration with expert clinicians and members of the Parkinson’s community, will make a real contribution to increasing the percentage of people getting their Parkinson’s medication on time. No one should fear going into hospital. If more people get their Parkinson’s medication on time, they’ll have better health and wellbeing, shorter hospital stays, and they’ll be able to live well with Parkinson’s for longer.”

The free time critical medication resources are part of Parkinson’s UK’s ongoing Get It On Time campaign. The campaign is calling for the UK government to take action after hearing from people who have suffered severe harm to their health when they’ve not received their medication on time while in hospital.

Parkinson’s UK also offers free online courses and training presentations. To access resources and toolkits for healthcare professionals to support the Get It On Time campaign, visit

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