Patients leaving Blackpool Teaching Hospitals are benefiting from a new scheme that ensures they get the best use out of their medicines.

Reports suggest that many patients see their conditions deteriorate after leaving hospitals because they struggle to use their medicines as prescribed, and the new scheme aims to reduce those issues across the Fylde coast and Lancashire.

The pharmacy department at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is now  referring eligible patients to their chosen community pharmacist for a medicine review that helps patients understand the medication they have been prescribed, how best to take them, any possible side effects and answer any concerns the patient may have.

The service supports general practices; helping patients to better manage their medicines and long term conditions. Potential side effects and adverse effects are picked up sooner, communication between the hospital and patient’s community pharmacies regarding medicines has been improved, and patients feel more confident and in control of their medicines.

There is good evidence that community pharmacy based medication reviews can reduce the risk of drug related problems and improve the appropriateness of prescribing while reducing the number of drugs prescribed.

Alan Bloomer, Interface Pharmacist at the Trust, said: “Evidence shows us that only 16% of patients’ who are prescribed a new medicine, take it as prescribed, experience no side effects and receive as much information as they believe they need. Approximately half of all people do not take their medicines as prescribed.”

“By increasing patients’ contact with their community pharmacist we will help improve patients’ understanding and knowledge of their medication, improve medication optimisation, and reduce health inequalities and medicine wastage”.

“Through improved access to these services patients will be less likely to be readmitted to hospital due to an adverse event such as a side effect to a newly prescribed medicine or not taking their medicines as prescribed”.

“The service will support the reduction of A&E attendances, hospital admissions and readmissions.’’

Dr Felicity Guest (pictured), a Thornton GP and clinical lead for medicines management at NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Making sure patients fully understand their medication and how they should take it is one way we can reduce the number of people having to be readmitted to hospital.

“We also want patients to have a better understanding of the services on offer from their local pharmacy to help ease the pressure on doctors’ surgeries across Fylde coast and free up valuable GP time.”

Dr Amanda Doyle, a Blackpool GP and Chief Clinical Officer of Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is an important service aimed at patients who would benefit from support with their medication following a hospital stay, to help them manage their health condition.

“The service will support patients to understand their medication, the importance of taking it as prescribed and will provide advice about possible side effects they may experience or may be worried about.”