Post-discharge medicines management: NHS should do better

The NHS must do more to prevent harm being caused to patients by prescribed medicines after leaving hospital, according to a report by the new regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Chief executive Cynthia Bower said that a “change of attitude” in the NHS is needed to recognise “how important it is for clinicians to pass the baton smoothly between services…”. Some of the areas highlighted in the report as needing improvement are:

  • Information is sometimes patchy and incomplete and not shared quickly enough between GPs and hospitals when a patient moves between services.
  • GP patient records are sometimes updated by non-clinical staff.
  • Not enough patients being offered medication management discussions with their GP post-discharge.
  • Medication incidents or errors are not consistently reported by GPs and Primary Care Trusts are not always monitoring them.

The CQC makes recommendations for each of the areas of concern. It urges all GP practices and trusts to use the results of this study to address any problem areas before registration begins next April.