PRSB response to national over-prescribing review report

The PRSB welcomes the findings and recommendations of the National Overprescribing Review Report on the overprescribing of medicines in the NHS, and we encourage the adoption of PRSB care record standards, which will help local NHS organisations deliver the recommendations of this report.

PRSB’s core purpose is to develop information record standards that underpin digital records for better, safe care. The report recognises that improving the quality of people’s healthcare records and better information sharing between clinicians can ensure safe prescribing by reducing overprescribing of medicines no longer needed or contra-indicated.

Data standards ensure that people’s medicines information is recorded in a single, digital space that is at less risk of human error than if recorded on paper. Standards also allow for this information to be recorded in a common way that is shareable and readable across different computer systems in different care settings, for care at the point of need.

The report recommends that medicines reconciliation becomes the norm when people are discharged from one service to another, such as from hospital back to the GP. Medicines reconciliation is the process of identifying differences in what the prescribing records says a patient should be taking, compared to the medicines the patient is in fact receiving and taking, and these discrepancies can occur when a patient is transferred from one care setting to another. PRSB’s eDischarge standard and medications information assurance support medicines reconciliation and we are pleased the report recognises their importance. 

In addition, the PRSB’s community pharmacy standard supports better information sharing between GP practices and community pharmacists including structured medications reviews as recommended in the report.

As more people live longer, often with one or more long-term conditions, it is important to involve them in making informed choices about their care and treatment including what medications they take. Shared decision-making between people and clinicians can lead to better outcomes such as increased compliance with medicines, less overprescribing, even deprescribing where medicines are causing harm or are no longer indicated.

PRSB has developed a draft standard to record the information drawn from shared decision-making conversations in order to facilitate person-centred care.

‘Patient safety is paramount in prescribing. This timely report identifies key areas where prescribing can be significantly improved for the health of our patients and the efficiency of NHS services,’ said Professor Maureen Baker, Chair, PRSB.

‘Better information sharing is a golden thread that runs through the report and its recommendations. PRSB wholeheartedly supports them and encourages the NHS and individual clinicians to adopt the information record standards identified in this report for safer, more effective prescribing.’

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