Getting your medicines right

Transfer of care - getting your medicines right

What’s the campaign about?

When you receive treatment from the NHS, a variety of professionals will be responsible for your care.  For example, you might go from being looked after by your GP, to being admitted to hospital for treatment, before going back home again to the care of your GP.

When you go to a different place to receive your care, information about all your medicines should transfer with you.  Medicines are an essential part of your treatment and not getting the right ones can make you feel unwell. 

When you need care, it’s likely you’ll be treated by different health professionals who may stop, start or change your medicines in response to your needs.
Sometimes, the information that’s transferred isn’t right, which can have consequences for your health.

Health professionals and patients talk about how important it is to know about your medicines when you go into hospital

 

Why do problems occur with transferring information about medicines?

There is no standard procedure for transferring information about medicines when a patient moves to a new environment, or any agreed set of information which must be transferred about medicines. 

In addition, patients themselves may be unable too unwell to provide clear information about their medicines when they are admitted or discharged from one place to another. 

What can happen?

If the picture of your medicines is incomplete, differences can occur between what you’ve been prescribed and what you are actually taking.  Vital medicines can end up being missed out, duplicated, or taken late.

Pharmacist and patient

What can I do?

Download our patient factsheet and form

Keep an up-to-date list of your medicines.  Take it, and your medicines, with you when you go into hospital or change the place where you receive your care. 

Your medicines should be checked within 24 hours of you arriving in hospital.  If this doesn’t happen, ask a health professional when it will be done

Ask your local pharmacist for a medicines use review (known as an MUR) to make sure you understand your medicines.  This service is free.
Above all, ask a health professional if you are unsure about anything to do with your medicines.

There’s plenty you can do to help keep track of your medicines.  Our factsheet gives you ideas on how to help and includes a handy form so you can create your own list of the medicines you are taking.

What are we doing?

We’ve been working with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Physicians to produce guidance for health professionals and those who design services to help improve the situation.

View our transfer of care guidance