Plans to recruit pharmacists into care homes

NHS England has revealed new plans to recruit and deploy hundreds of pharmacists into care homes to help reduce overmedication and cut unnecessary hospital stays.

With elderly care home residents often having one or more long-term health conditions, such as dementia, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease, it is believed that they are being prescribed seven medicines daily, with approximately 10 per cent of people aged 75 and over currently being prescribed 10 or more medicines.

Therefore, under the new plans, roughly 180,000 people living in nursing or residential homes will have their prescriptions and medicines reviewed by the new pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. NHS trials have shown that pharmacists reviewing medicines has led to meaningful savings in unnecessary prescribing costs of £249 per patient in one pilot over a year.

The rollout will include NHS England funding recruitment of 240 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians as part of the Refreshing NHS Plans for 2018/19 project, which sets out measures to provide joined-up services for patients to ensure they receive care in the most appropriate place.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “There’s increasing evidence that our parents and their friends – a whole generation of people in their 70s, 80s and 90s – are being overmedicated in care homes, with bad results. Let’s face it- the policy of ‘a pill for every ill’ is often causing frail older people more health problems than it’s solving. So expert pharmacists are now going to offer practical NHS support and medicines reviews in care homes across England.”

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