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Pharmacists to cut over medication in care homes

Will the bid to cut over medication increase efficiency?

NHS England has announced plans to recruit hundreds of pharmacists to cut over medication for the old and frail, hoping to improve quality of life and reduce unnecessary hospital visits.

Studies show up to one in 12 of all hospital admissions are medicine-related and two thirds of these are preventable, said NHS England, which hopes the move will reduce emergency admissions and make savings in unnecessary prescribing costs.

On average, care home residents are prescribed seven medicines daily for conditions such as dementia, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Around 10% of people aged over 75 are prescribed 10 or more a day.

The scheme will recruit 240 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They will review the medicines of around 180,000 people living in nursing or residential homes.

The reviews will be done with GPs and practice-based clinical pharmacists to make sure patients are prescribed the right medicines at the right time to improve their health and quality of life, said NHS England.

A pilot of the scheme in Northumberland showed that one hospital readmission could be avoided for every 12 residents reviewed.

In East and North Hertfordshire, an annual drug cost saving of £249 per patient was made across the 37 care homes where the scheme was trialled.

In the six NHS England care home vanguard sites piloting the scheme, a reduced ambulance call-out rate of up to 30% was found and a 21% reduction in emergency hospital admissions.

Further information

NHS England: Pharmacists funded to work in care homes in England

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