The NHS spends £16.8 billion a year on medicines (£1 in every £7 that the NHS spends) and they are the most common treatment in the NHS. 

Medicines help a lot of people to get well, but:

  • Up to 50% of patients don’t take their medicines as intended meaning their health is affected;
  • Around 5-8% of hospital admissions are medicines related, many of which are preventable;
  • Medication safety continues to be a serious issue;
  • Bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics through overuse which is a global issue;
  • Use of multiple medicines is increasing – over 1 million people now take 8 or more medicines a day.


Medicine programmes

We are currently engaged in supporting delivery of two national programmes, Polypharmacy: Getting the Balance Right, and the Opiod Safety Improvement Programme:

The Polypharmacy: Getting the Balance Right Programme aims to support local systems and primary care to identify patients at potential risk of harm and support better conversations about medicines by promoting shared decision making. One of the core principles of this is population health management.

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The Opiod Safety Improvement Programme aims to reduce severe avoidable medication related harm by 50% by March 2024 through medicines optimisation and quality improvement.  There are two main focus areas in the programme; reduction in inappropriate high dose opiate prescriptions for non-cancer pain and safer administration of medicines in care homes.

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The Innovation Agency has also worked with the care home sector to develop quality improvement methods.

We have been working with the NHS England and Improvement Safety Improvement Programmes for Managing Deterioration and Medicines Safety to reduce deterioration and medication-related harm in care homes in the North West Coast.

In addition the Innovation Agency has previously supported the following programmes of work:

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