Medicines optimisation: Why is it important and where to start

Karen O’Brien, CDAO leading on Greater Manchester Strategy Implementation Plan, Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP), discusses medicines optimisation and the resources available on the NICE website

Karen O’Brien, Controlled Drug Accountable Officer (CDAO), Greater Manchester HSCP

I’ve been a pharmacist since 1994 and my thoughts when I’m prescribing and dispensing medicines have always been, would I want my mum or my family to take this?

Medicines optimisation as supported by NICE, is the latest iteration of how we can improve the prescribing, dispensing and administration of medicines. What it means is, as a pharmacist I can ensure a person gets the right choice of medicine, at the right time.

By using the medicines optimisation resource NICE has produced, we can support patient outcomes in all care sectors and especially at local and neighbourhood levels. For me, medicine optimisation means focusing on people and their experiences to help them improve their outcomes; take their medicines correctly; avoid unnecessary medication; reduce wastage; and ensure safety. 

The NHS England Long Term Plan is also giving us the perfect vehicle to prove how valuable a pharmacist can be regarding medicines safety. When pharmacists need information about a medicine they can go straight on to the web today, the British National Formulary (BNF) and the NICE guidance have always been there to help. I rely on the NICE medicines optimisation pathway especially, because in my current role I am responsible for all aspects of controlled drugs management within the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

I am happy to say that the number of medicine optimisation projects is growing. These projects can only help clinical pharmacists support patients better, whether in GP practices, community pharmacies or other settings.  

Tags: medicines optimisation, medicines safety, NICE resource, NICE pathway, STPs, ICSs

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