Pharmacists sent into care homes to stop elderly over-medicating

Hundreds of pharmacists will be deployed in care homes amid concerns the elderly are over-medicating.

Around 180,000 people living in nursing or residential homes will have their medicines checked, NHS England announced on Friday.

The health body said elderly care home residents are prescribed seven medicines a day on average, with around 10% of people aged 75 or over being given 10 or more in a cocktail of drugs that could harm their health rather than improve it.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: "There's increasing evidence that our parents and their friends - a whole generation of people in their 70s, 80s and 90s - are being over-medicated in care homes, with bad results.

"Let's face it- the policy of 'a pill for every ill' is often causing frail older people more health problems than it's solving.

"So expert pharmacists are now going to offer practical NHS support and medicines reviews in care homes across England."

NHS trials found that by having medicines reviewed, money was saved and hospital admissions were down among elderly patients.

These patients often have a one or more long-term health conditions, such as dementia, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease, which can lead to them taking a large variety of medication.

The scheme will now be expanded, with NHS England funding the recruitment of 240 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.