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NHS England in bid to cut drugs waste

CCGs should work with trusts to better support patients taking medicines

Louise Prime

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Clinical commissioning groups should be using expert pharmaceutical support to lead medicines optimisation rather than just concentrate on driving down drug spend, NHS England said this morning. It is urging CCGs to use its new Medicines Optimisation Prototype Dashboard, launched today, to help cut the huge amount wasted on medicines – £300m every year in primary care alone, half of it avoidable.

NHS England’s deputy chief pharmaceutical officer Clare Howard said that as much as half of prescribed medicines are not taken as intended, and that medication issues account for 5-8% of all unplanned hospital admissions – and for 17% of those among the over-65s. She said better support for patients, particularly with new medicines, could mean that they, as well as the NHS and the taxpayer, get the best quality outcomes from prescribed medicines. She said that, ultimately, medicines optimisation can help encourage patients to take ownership of their treatment.

She said: “The vast majority of medicines are prescribed by general practice and dispensed from a community pharmacy. For this reason, it is important that CCGs are working locally to make sure their patients have the support they need to get the most from their medicines.”

NHS England said it aims to encourage CCGs and trusts to work together, to focus more on how well their patients are supported to use medicine and less on cost and volume of drugs. Its prototype dashboard includes information on hospital admissions, patient experience indicators, medication safety and utilisation of community pharmacy services.

Clare Howard said: “We hope that [the dashboard] will help CCGs to think carefully about how well their local population is supported in its use of medicines both in the community and during a stay in hospital and upon transfer back into the community setting.

“CCGs have access to expert pharmaceutical support. Historically, in some areas, this support has concentrated on driving down drug spend. Now, leading CCGs are recognising that there are greater efficiencies in using their pharmacists to lead medicines optimisation.”

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