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Addressing the Polypharmacy Challenge in Older People

The Polypharmacy Challenge Blog

Medication errors: Latest figures show most likely in older people and those experiencing comorbidity and polypharmacy

Najia Sultan, Academic Clinical Fellow reflects on a recently published report which has caught the attention of the media.

Latest research released last week has highlighted worrying levels of medication errors made in the NHS every year. The findings have been widely reported in the popular media and were highlighted by the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt at the Global Patient Safety Summit in London last week.

Boots: Pharmacists under pressure?

One of our research participants alerted us to this investigative news documentary recently screened on BBC One as part of its ‘real-life stories and investigations’ TV programme, Inside Out. This programme was timely for us as we’re currently undertaking fieldwork in pharmacies.

The documentary focuses on three tragic cases where patients died after being given medicines prescribed for another patient. It then set out to make a link between dispensing errors and staff shortages. There was a particular focus on Boots’ unwillingness to disclose information about the model it uses to calculate appropriate staffing levels – this being identified as a ‘trade secret’ and summoning up a sense of suspicion.

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