Scrips for elderly patients double

The average number of prescription items dispensed to older people in 2007 was nearly double the number dispensed in 1997, according to the NHS Information Centre.

The report Prescriptions Dispensed In The Community 1997-2007 found that people aged 60 and over received 42.4 items per head in 2007 compared with 22.3 items in 1997.

Nearly 60 per cent more prescription items were dispensed to England residents in total in 2007 compared with 1997.

The therapeutic area with the largest number of items dispensed, which also had the greatest cost, is the cardiovascular system.

The proportion of items prescribed by nurses has increased by almost 50 per cent on 2006. The figure is based on an assumption that records for the ePACT system, which analyses prescription data for England excluding dentists and hospitals, is representative.

The report adds that there are now over 12,000 nurse independent prescribers, over 400 pharmacist independent prescribers and optometrists will be able to train to become independent prescribers later this year.

Scrips written generically increased from 81.8 per cent in 2006 to 82.6 per cent in 2007. The number dispensed generically increased from 62.2 to 64.1 per cent over the same period.

* Editors' blog: Has the GP bashing stopped?

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