NHS Shetland is committed to getting its pharmacy bill down but at the same time making sure patients are getting the medicines they really need.
That was the message from director of pharmacy Chris Nicolson, delivering his annual report to a meeting of the board NHS Shetland on Tuesday.
Mr Nicolson said the cost of medicine to NHS Shetland was going up because of a higher proportion of expensive and “far more very expensive” medicines being prescribed.
He said that more thought had to be put into treating patients as individuals, and assessing whether their medicines were actually helping. This applies especially to older and frail patients, he said, whom pharmacists should be helping to ensure that any medicines not “adding value” should be stopped.
He said that pharmacists were now looking at patients on more than 10 types of medication, and were starting work in care settings to help carers to understand the medicines. The aim is to reduce the number of prescriptions and make sure patients are “doing well” on their medicines, which should reduce the need to go to hospital.