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Progress on the Ground

A recent survey by the National Collaborative Medicines Management Services Programme (17) identified that:
  • Before joining the programme, only 25% of PCTs involved in the first "wave" had an agreed guideline or protocol in place to support medication review
  • Less than half of practices planned medication reviews in advance
  • A third reviewed medication as part of a routine consultation without allocating dedicated time for the process
  • Only 30% of practitioners would usually document a review in the patient's notes or by use of a computerised clinical Read code.
 
This survey, and information gathered by the Department of Health, indicate that medication review is already established in many organisations, but can be ad hoc, and only rarely has the participation of patients been fully thought through. There are few examples of patients being actively involved as partners in medication review. In some cases patients may only discover that their medicines have been reviewed when their next repeat prescription is different from the last.
 
This rather patchy picture is underlined by the reported experiences of the older people, patients and carers to whom we spoke in the course of our user research. Their views are described more fully in section 4 of the guide: The patient perspective.
 
Of the many aspects of medication review that could be improved, the most pressing need is to work towards involving patients as partners in review, in order to reach informed agreement about their medicines.

Next > Section 3: What is Medication Review