Chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England Keith Ridge has given his support for pharmacists to be part of the multidisciplinary team in care homes.
“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 says.
Ridge’s comments come after the launch of a report by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) calling for pharmacists to be given full responsibility for medicines and their use within care homes in order to improve care, reduce NHS medicines waste and save the NHS money.
In its report, the RPS makes a number of recommendations, including calling for local commissioners to commission pharmacists to provide medicine reviews within care homes; having one pharmacist and one GP being responsible for medicines in each care home; ensuring pharmacists are competent to support the clinical specialities found within care homes, such as dementia; and enabling pharmacists to lead a programme of regular medicine reviews and staff training.
Following a review of three pilots measuring the impact of a pharmacist in a care home setting, the report calculates that pharmacist-led interventions and medicines reviews in care homes across the UK could save the NHS £135m each year.
“We welcome this report and look forward to exploring the proposals further with all interested parties,” says Ridge.