Army of NHS experts brought in to tackle over-medication in care homes

The project aims to improve quality of life, reduce over-medication and reduce the number of hospital admissions.

Ian Snug
11 May 2019
Tablets Medication

Charities are concerned that care home residents are being given a ‘chemical cosh’.

An army of experts has been recruited to help prevent care home residents being given too many medicines.


According to NHS England, care home residents are prescribed an average of seven medicines a day, with many taking 10 or more, costing the NHS an estimated £250 million each year.

Charities have voiced fears that a generation of older people is being subjected to a ‘chemical cosh’.

Clinical experts, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, will review the medication of thousands of residents with the aim of improving quality of life, reducing the number of hospital admissions and reduce over-medication.

GPs are also being encouraged to reduce long-term prescribing and ensure patients get regular medication reviews.


‘Reducing avoidable drug’.

Professor Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia and Older People’s Mental Health at NHS England, said: “Older people deserve the best possible support and with many care home residents living with complex conditions, bringing in extra expert health advice will mean the NHS can reduce avoidable drug use, improve care and free up vital funding for better treatment.

“People want to know their mum or grandad is being properly looked after and helping them to live well and with the best possible quality of life is key to that.

“Strengthening the ties between GPs and care homes made a huge difference to residents’ health when we tested the scheme and the NHS Long Term Plan will mean older people in every part of the country soon will benefit from tailored, specialist support in their care home.”

‘A better quality of life, for longer’.

England’s Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Keith Ridge said: “Too many patients are prescribed medicines they may no longer need or may need adjusting, which is why the NHS Long Term Plan is funding expert pharmacy teams across the country to give tailored advice to care home residents and extra support to staff to increase the safety and quality of older people’s care.


“Rather than assuming there’s a pill for every ill, increasing the availability of specialist health advice in care homes will mean residents get more personalised treatment, reduced chances of being admitted to hospital and people will have a better quality of life, for longer.”

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