Two hundred pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have been recruited by NHS England (NHSE) to take part in a £20 million programme to reduce the unnecessary prescribing of medicines to people in care homes.
The “clinical” pharmacists and technicians, as NHSE describes them, will be part of a team of medical experts tasked with ensuring care home residents receive the right medicine and avoid over-medicating. It is hoped that in turn will reduce hospital admissions.
Care home residents are prescribed seven medicines a day on average at an annual cost of £250 million to the NHS, according to NHSE.
Fourteen areas in England have trialled the scheme as part of the NHS long-term plan. NHSE said those pilots were a success.
English Pharmacy Board chair Sandra Gidley said: “I’m delighted that the programme of recruiting pharmacists and pharmacy technicians into care homes across England has proved successful and will continue.
“RPS has long campaigned for this to happen to improve the health of our most vulnerable populations.
“Including pharmacy professionals in the care home workforce has been proven to cut medication errors, reduce polypharmacy and make savings for the NHS, benefitting patient care and safety.
“Making pharmacists part of the multidisciplinary team matches the ambitions of the NHS long-term plan, which emphasises working across traditional boundaries with other health professions to drive up standards of care.
“We look forward to seeing the programme expand even further and to helping colleagues, residents and their families and carers.”
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