New report highlights how pharmacy professionals can help to improve medicines management in care homes

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has published an independent report which highlights a number of key concerns in relation to the use of medicines in care homes in Great Britain.


The report was commissioned by the GPhC to inform and support a wider discussion about the roles that pharmacy professionals and community pharmacies can play in ensuring the safety and general health and wellbeing of care home residents receiving medication.


The report was also informed by a seminar organised by the GPhC in December 2014 and attended by a wide range of organisations and practitioners. This seminar looked at issues relating to current practice in relation to the supply, delivery and administration of medicines in care homes.


The report identifies a number of issues relating to safe medicines management in care homes including prescribing, dispensing, administrating and monitoring medicines.  It draws principally on the review of existing evidence and literature, some limited data we hold, as well as the discussion held at the seminar.


It highlights key recommendations discussed at the seminar which will require work across regulators, leadership bodies and providers in order to address them. They include:


  • A stronger more integrated role for pharmacy professionals in care homes is needed along with a stronger relationship between the care home, community pharmacy and GP
  • Medicines management could be improved through appropriate staff training and more effective use of the medicines review process
  • Better systems need to be in place to share clinical data between settings and health professionals


The report also includes the recommendation that inspections by both the GPhC and care home regulators should consider pharmacy services to care homes.  GPhC inspections of registered pharmacies already consider services provided to care homes and the GPhC will look at how standards for registered pharmacies and their application/inspection could be strengthened in this area as part of its ongoing review of these standards.


Commenting on the publication of the report, Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive of the GPhC, said:


“Pharmacy professionals have an important part to play in improving medicines management in care homes and we hope this report contributes to a broader conversation about what pharmacy can and should do to help all care home residents to receive the right medicines at the right time.


“We will ensure that the findings of the report and from our seminar are taken into account in the ongoing review of our standards for pharmacy professionals, registered pharmacies and the initial education and training of the pharmacy team. And we are committed to working with the professional bodies and others leading the work in this area to protect and improve the safety and well-being of people living in care homes.”


The full report is available on the GPhC website.