The Department of Health and Social Care has reported that the 2017/2018 bill for NHS spending on medicines was £18.2 billion compared with £13billion in 2010/2011, with another report claiming that almost 50% of people over the age of 75 take more than 4 medicines. In an effort to reduce this massive spend and limit the harm over-medication can cause patients, NHS England chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge will be overseeing a review into over-prescribing. It will consider how communication between primary and secondary care can be improved, and how there can be more conversations around repeat prescriptions.
Matt Hancock said: “As we invest an extra £20.5bn a year into our NHS we want to empower doctors and pharmacists to use the data available to ensure patients get the medicines they need and stop taking those that no longer benefit them.”
“NHS chief pharma officer to oversee NHS over-prescribing review“
Sandra Gidley, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s England board chair, said: “As people are living longer, often with complex and multiple conditions, the role of pharmacists in reviewing people’s medicines and ensuring they are on the most appropriate medicines for their conditions will become increasingly important. For this to truly improve the health and care of patients we need to harness the skills of pharmacists in all care settings, from community to care homes and from GP practices to hospitals. By working closely with other health professionals this initiative will help make sure that patients are taking the right medicines at the right time and not taking medicines that they do not need.”