RPS care homes letter in The Times

24 Feb 2016

Today The Times has published a letter from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society co-signed by four other organisations backing our care homes campaign.  

The letter is reproduced in full below. Read our campaign report here and see a list of all the organisations supporting our call for a pharmacist to be responsible for medicines and their use in every care home.


The Government’s proposed £170 million cut for community pharmacy could see reduced hours or the closure of pharmacies altogether, which in turn will make it more difficult for people to access local pharmacy services. However, the profession is seeking to step-up and take on a more care-giving role that will help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable in society.

A new report from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has identified the key role pharmacists can play in the care of the elderly by conducting regular medicine reviews and working alongside GPs to better manage residents in care homes. 
There are currently 405,000 care home residents in the UK aged over 65 and 70% of them have an error with their medication. The RPS estimates that pharmacist-led medicine reviews with residents and their families can save the NHS up to135 million a year; £60 million as a result of a pharmacist stopping, reducing, starting or changing medication and over £75 million per year by preventing avoidable drug-related hospital admissions. In addition, having a pharmacist for every care home would address the £24 million of medicines waste occurring in care homes every year. 
At a time when GPs’ workloads are overwhelming and the NHS needs every penny, transformation to a more clinically focussed community pharmacy service that relieves pressure on primary care whilst realising savings for the NHS, should be welcomed by patients, tax-payers and NHS officials alike.
Sandra Gidley Royal Pharmaceutical Society Board Chair for England
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive, Alzheimer’s Society
Martin Green Chief Executive Care England
Simon O'Neill, Diabetes UK, Director of Health Intelligence and Professional Liaison
Katherine Murphy Chief Executive, Patients Association