Elderly still miss out on medication review

The NHS is failing to meet the standards set out in the NSF for older people on management of medicines, according to a report by three public-sector watchdogs.

The review of the NSF acknowledged that all parts of the NHS were striving to implement medicines management and the single assessment process for the elderly. But neither measure had been fully implemented in any of the 10 communities examined.

This resulted in the continuation of lengthy, disjointed assessments, according to the Healthcare Commission, Audit Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection review.

GPs involved in medicine management attributed the failure to the lack of IT systems enabling the sharing of information.

Dr Leonard Peter, chairman of Harrow PCT's medicines management committee, said: 'Despite the billions spent on Connecting for Health, our community nurses still have to enter information on to their archaic information system and on to our clinical system. Over the past 15 years there has been no attempt to link them.'

According to the review, although most general practices were reviewing medication annually for people aged over 75, those taking four or more medications were not always reviewed on a six-monthly basis.

Dr Peter said: 'We have been very proactive in medicines management.

We have top-sliced our budgets to help fund hospital pharmacists so they review the medicines of elderly people before discharge. The intention is to extend that to all wards.'

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