Support is growing for the proposal to add pharmacists to the care teams at Britain’s care homes.
Keith Ridge, chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England, says pharmacists should be deployed as part of front line support throughout the health and care services.
“Given that the use of a medicine is the most common intervention we make in the NHS, it is important that pharmacists are given the opportunity to use their skills to support care home residents and staff to maximum effect, as well as in settings such as GP surgeries and accident & emergency departments,” he told the Pharmaceutical Journal.
His intervention follows the publication of a report by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society that concluded that pressure on NHS services would be reduced if pharmacists assessed residents in care homes and adjusted their medications.
The recommendations follow successful pilot projects in Leeds where three pharmacists reviewed the medicines of care home residents. Their intervention led to fewer hospital admissions, saving the local health service more than £120,000.
In an interview with The Yorkshire Post, Helen Whiteside, one of the clinical care home pharmacists brought in as part of the NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group project, said she was surprised at the amount of waste she discovered in processing managed medicines between care homes, GPs and pharmacists in Leeds.
“We need to work more closely together and not in our current professional silos.”
The success led the RPS to conclude that rolling out the programme across the UK could save taxpayers £135 million.