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NICE releases draft medicine optimisation guidelines

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NICE has created draft guidelines on optimal medicine use to support healthcare providers in ensuring that patients benefit from medication prescribed.

The guidelines aim to alleviate the pressure from the growing number of patients with long-term conditions who require regular doses of medication on an extended basis.

According to NICE, it is estimated that between 30 and 50 per cent of medicines prescribed for these conditions are not taken correctly by patients. Non-optimal uses of medicine include taking an incorrect dose or using medications at irregular times. Recommendations in the guidelines include ensuring that patients or their carers understand the correct procedures for taking medication, and the creation of a 'no-blame' culture that encourages healthcare providers to report medicine-related patient safety incidents.

The guidelines emphasise the necessity of good communication between care settings. According to a report by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, between 30 and 70 per cent of patients experience an unintentional change to their medicine when moving from one care setting to another. As part of the guidelines, NICE has created a list of key information which healthcare providers should have about a patient when they change care settings. This list includes known allergies and what medicines the person is taking and why.

NICE launched a consultation on the guidelines on 10 October, which will run until 17 November. Healthcare providers wishing to contribute can do this via NICE stakeholder organisations . The finalised guidelines will be published in March 2015. More information on the consultation

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