Medicines optimisation is the safe and effective use of medicines to enable the best possible outcomes for patients. To achieve this there must be on-going and open dialogue with the patient and their carer or family about the patient's choice and experience of using medicines to manage their condition.
It is estimated that 30 - 50% of medicines are not taken as intended. This means that every day around 20 million people in the UK are taking their medicines inappropriately, putting themselves at risk of major harm - last year one in every 20 hospital admissions was due to potentially preventable the effects of medicines.
Recent major UK studies have also identified high levels of avoidable prescribing and medication errors in hospitals, care homes and primary care.
As well as being a major cause of patient harm, medication errors and the inappropriate use of medicines is a major waste of resources. The NHS spends about £9 billion on medicines every year. This is about 10% of the overall NHS budget, and the second largest cost to the NHS after staff.
Our work on medicines optimisation includes project work supporting the reduction in levels of problematic polypharmacy
, sharing good practice to support safer medicines on discharge and a toolkit to support a reduction in the levels of missed and delayed doses.