Care Quality Commission
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Medicines in health and adult social care: Learning from risks and sharing good practice for better outcomes

Our new report describes lessons for better medicines optimisation across health and social care providers and the positive impact of involving pharmacy professionals in health and social care settings.

People rely on medicines every day to help achieve good outcomes such as managing long-term conditions, dealing with immediate medical needs, and complex chemotherapy regimes in acute hospital settings. In primary care alone, NHS GPs carry out over 300 million consultations and over a billion prescription items are dispensed in the community.

When medicines are managed and used effectively, providers can not only improve outcomes for people, but also drive improvements in overall care, reduce wastage and involved people in their own treatment. This is the goal of medicines optimisation.

However, a recent study estimated that 237 million medication errors occur in England each year and there is work to be done to make sure that everyone has access to the high-quality, safe care that they deserve.

Pharmacy professionals play a vital role in improving person-centred care through better use of medicines, and this report includes examples of positive outcomes for people in a variety of services because of their input. This ranges from helping to upskill care home staff on medicines, to direct involvement in reviewing people’s medicines at the point of discharge from one setting to another.

'Medicines in health and adult social care: Learning from risks and sharing good practice for better outcomes' is based on qualitative and quantitative analysis of over 200 inspection reports of NHS and independent providers where we knew there were medicines-related issues, 100 enforcement notices (such as Warning Notices) and 1,500 National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) and statutory notifications from providers between 2015 and 2018.

As well as learning for people working in primary care, mental health, adult social care and hospital settings, there were common areas for improvement across health and care, these include: staff competence and workforce capacity; reporting and learning from incidents; prescribing, monitoring and reviewing medicines; and transfer of care.

You can read more about what this report means for different types of health and social care in our special edition newsletters.

Report: Medicines in health and social care

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