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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Medicines discharge could be better

The Care Quality Commission has issued a press release that highlights several flaws in the current systems used to managing patients’ medicines after discharge. This has been reported in the general media (BBC).

A survey of 280 surgeries within 12 primary care trusts (PCTs) was conducted and found that, "there are generally good systems in place to ensure that repeat prescribing is safe, and that people don’t carry on taking a medicine for longer than they should". However the following concerns were raised:

  • GPs and hospitals do not always exchange enough information about medicines, and don’t share it on time
  • In a minority of GP practices (17%), administrative staff rather than clinical staff update records, and they don’t have the clinical skills to check whether medications are right
  • There’s not enough being done to talk to patients themselves about their medications, either when they’re discharged from hospital or in the longer term
  • Monitoring and learning from serious incidents is patchy

Individual study reports are available for the 12 participating PCTs and may provide useful pointers for service improvement.

Action: Clinicians should be aware of this study and consider reviewing local systems to ensure that medicines safety is optimal.

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