BGS responds to report ‘Good for you, good for us, good for everyone’

24 September 2021

The BGS welcomes the Department of Health and Social Care’s new report Good for you, good for us, good for everyone: A plan to reduce overprescribing to make patient care better and safer, support the NHS, and reduce carbon emissions. Older people are often affected by overprescribing and the Society was pleased to be involved in the review that led to the publication of this report.

Older people with several long term-conditions are often prescribed many medications. These may potentially do more harm than good because people find it hard to stick to complex adherence schedules and find their physiological and psychosocial mechanisms reduced in dealing with even minor side-effects.1 Appropriate deprescribing and medicines optimisation are cornerstones of geriatric medicine and structured medication reviews are an essential part of comprehensive geriatric assessment. This is an area of healthcare familiar to our members but there is always room for improvement and we welcome the report’s key findings and recommendations.

It is essential that prescribing for older people involves the entire multidisciplinary team, from clinicians and pharmacists working in acute hospitals to those working in primary care, community services, and care homes. For this reason, we particularly welcome the recommendation for the appointment of a National Clinical Director for Prescribing to show national leadership in relation to this issue. The new Clinical Director will need to have expertise in the care of older people, as this is a patient group particularly affected by overprescribing and the risks of medicines-related harm.

Dr Henry Woodford and Dr Yvonne Morrissey, Chair and Secretary of the British Geriatrics Society’s Medicines Optimisation Special Interest Group, commented:

The themes highlighted in this report are not new to BGS members and it is gratifying to see national attention brought to this important issue. Overprescribing in older people is often harmful and it is vital that geriatricians, GPs and pharmacists in all settings regularly review the medications that their patients are taking to prevent adverse health outcomes. We look forward to continuing to work with all parties to ensure that the recommendations of this review are implemented.”

Dr Keith Ridge CBE, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England, commented:

Development of the review has been a culmination of a lot of hard work from many colleagues across a wide range of organisations. It has been a valuable and rewarding process, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with BGS colleagues in the implementation of the review’s recommendations so we further build the sustainable change that we all wish to see in how medicines are used for the benefit of patients.”

BGS is grateful to Dr Yvonne Morrissey for representing the Society on this working group and contributing to the development of this important report.