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Medicines optimisation

NHS England publishes medicines optimisation dashboard

A dashboard, bringing together a range of current data related to medicines, has been launched in a bid to move the focus of trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) from a heavy emphasis on cost and volume of drugs toward how well patients are supported to optimise drug use.

The prototype dashboard, set up by NHS England, includes hospital admission data and patient experience indicators and looks at areas such as medication safety and use of community pharmacy services.

“It is not intended as a performance measurement tool and there are no targets,” NHS England says, adding that many of the indicators are proxies to help stimulate localised debate about how well patients are supported to use their medicines.

The dashboard builds on the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s medicines optimisation principles, which were developed last year. The chairman of the RPS’s English Pharmacy Board, Dave Branford, says the dashboard provides: “a useful first attempt to pull together a wide variety of medicines safety, medicines use and pharmacy developments for use locally”.

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Elizabeth Butterfield says medicines optimisation should not be seen only as the business of commissioners

Carol Blount, NHS partnership director for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, says the dashboard is a “step in the right direction in helping the local NHS explore how well placed they are to optimise the use of medicines for patients in their area”.

The ABPI supports NHS England’s shift in focus from looking solely at the cost of medicines towards considering carefully their value and having a better understanding of the outcomes derived from using medicines.

Elizabeth Butterfield, RPS English Pharmacy Board member and a member of the medicines optimisation measurement group, says that although this new set of metrics is positive, medicines optimisation should not be seen only as the business of commissioners. “It is a new focus for all health professionals whether they prescribe, dispense or administer medicines,” she says.

NHS England hopes that CCGs and trusts work together to agree how to use the dashboard locally. “It will be important for local professional networks, strategic clinical networks and academic health science networks to use the indicators in their collaboration with patients, CCGs, trusts and the pharmaceutical industry to support local improvement,” it says.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20065324

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