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GPs asked to review patients to reduce polypharmacy

GP leaders in Scotland have warned proposals for medication reviews to prevent polypharmacy would duplicate work and overwhelm practices.

The Scottish government has asked NHS boards to draw up plans as part of their prescribing action plans for next year to target at risk patients and reduce the rate of polypharmacy.

In new guidance published this week, they said GPs should be asked to carry out medication reviews in older patients, those with multiple morbilities and patients in care homes or housebound.

They have also been tasked with developing systems to evaluate the impact of the reviews.

The guidance states: ‘Necessary polypharmacy is a feature of modern therapeutics. It is not without risk and elderly or frail patients are especially vulnerable.’

But Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of Scottish GPC and a GP in Clydebank, warned that the proposal would would result in a ‘time-consuming and costly process’ and reviews should only be conducted in those who had a ‘trigger event’ suggesting there was a problem.

He told Pulse: ‘In many cases such a review would duplicate what has already been done by the GP and practice pharmacist and it will be very expensive and challenging for practices to have that extra resource to offer,’ he said.


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