The 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. The programme consists of 3 pillars:
Pillar 1: Population Health Management
Using prescribing data (NHS BSA Polypharmacy Comparators) to identify patients for prioritisation for a Structured Medication Review. Training to use the prescribing comparators dashboard has been promoted within NENC and highlighted across various communication channels and forums.
Pillar 2: Education & Training
Running of polypharmacy training for the primary care workforce to support stopping unnecessary medicines. Key personnel have been identified to undertake a training and accreditation process to become Action Learning Set Trainers to deliver polypharmacy training to clinicians across the ICS.
Pillar 3: Public Facing Interventions
Testing patient information (Are the Medicines Working? Campaign in NENC) developed to support conversations about medicines. The materials were tested in 4 GP practices in NENC with feedback received from 27 patients and 8 clinicians.
A North East and North Cumbria Polypharmacy Community of Practice (CoP) was set up in September 2022 which underpins the programme, outputs included:
- 3 Community of Practice Meetings held between September 2022 to March 2023. Topics included: Introduction to the CoP, Anticholinergic Burden, Hyper Polypharmacy and Preventing Re-admission to Hospital.
- 99 attendees at all meetings including pharmacists from varying backgrounds, specialist frailty nurses, geriatricians, GPs, Consultant Psychiatrist, Consultant Rheumatologist and Academics.
This network of key stakeholders meets regularly to support the delivery of the programme, and also to foster a culture of engagement, collaboration, learning and innovation to reduce problematic polypharmacy for their populations most at risk from harm.
A steering group has been created to develop the agenda and content of meetings. The steering group includes key personnel with experience of delivering the polypharmacy agenda in practice.
The CoP has provided a forum to bring stakeholders together from across the ICS to discuss a shared priority and the development of NENC Polypharmacy NHS Futures Workspace has allowed information and resources to be shared and also hosts a discussion forum for members.
The programme has promoted an improvement in joined up working, sharing of information and resources and provides the opportunity to link in with peers from across the large NENC ICS geography.