Eight out of 10 GPs are not confident their older patients, aged over 75 and prescribed more than four medicines, are still taking their medicines correctly six months after consultation, research commissioned by Pharmacy Voice has revealed.

New research presented in Dispensing Health in Later Life, also reveals that they also believe more than half their patients, over 75 and on more than four medicines, would benefit from taking fewer medicines.

“Community pharmacy and general practice are increasingly working more closely together, helping relieve some of the extreme pressures on GPs. We would like to develop that collaboration further. More than a third of people over 75 take four or more medicines. Community pharmacy teams are ideally placed to provide regular advice on taking them correctly, help people understand potential side effects, and assess their ongoing efficacy,” said Professor Rob Darracott, chief executive of Pharmacy Voice.

The report makes a number of recommendations, with ‘people over 75 and on more than four medicines should have access to regular Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) undertaken by their community pharmacy teams,’ a top priority.

“There should be greater commitment to improved information sharing. This should include allowing community pharmacy professionals secure access to both read and add clinical information to people’s summary health care records, with their consent. The Government has committed to providing all community pharmacies read-only access to summary care records by autumn 2017. This should be rapidly followed by secure access to update records with written information, with patient consent.”

“Community pharmacy teams are well placed to undertake regular medicines use reviews, but the exact delivery must be worked through carefully with general practice colleagues to make sure our older patients aren’t sent round the houses, and are advised by the right health professional, at the right time, and in the right place,” said Dr Michael Dixon, chair, NHS Alliance and a Devon GP.

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