​Medicines optimisation

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Our medicines optimisation programme aims to help patients get the maximum benefit from their medicines and reduce waste and harm. 

The NHS spends £16.8 billion a year on medicines (£1 in every £7 that the NHS spends) and they are the most common treatment in the NHS.

Medicines help a lot of people get well but:

  • Medication safety continues to be a serious issue

  • Around 5-8% of hospital admissions are medicines related, many of which are preventable

  • Bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics through overuse which is a global issue

  • Up to 50% of patients don't take their medicines as intended meaning their health is affected

  • Use of multiple medicines is increasing – over 1 million people take 8 or more medicines a day.

Our medicines optimisation projects: 

  • Aim to understand the patients experience

  • Evidence based choices of medicines

  • making medicine optimisation part of routine practice

  • Ensuring medicines use is as safe as possible. 

Our programme of work is focusing on a number of key areas to improve support for patients to get the best from their medicines;

  1. Community pharmacist support for patients leaving hospital

  2. Preventing prescribing errors

  3. Polypharmacy

We are working collaboratively with the other 14 AHSNs to develop, share and spread good practice in medicines optimisation.

For further information please contact Lisa James, Senior Programme Manager, Medicine Optimisation lisa.james14@nhs.net

Further reading

NHS England's Medicine Optimisation website

World Health Organisation - Medication without harm