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Improved patient care and safety: Scotland, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland joint pharmacy project

A cross-border trial has improved care for patients prescribed multiple medicines.

The iSIMPATHY project, funded by the European Union's INTERREG VA Programme, worked with professionals in Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to comprehensively review patient medication.

Taking multiple medicines can be problematic if the increased risk of harm from interactions between drugs, or between drugs and diseases, outweighs the intended benefits.

Interim findings showed these interventions potentially prevented major organ failure, adverse drug reactions, avoided hospital admissions and saw patients moved to more appropriate medication.

Scotland’s Public Health Minister Maree Todd said: “This project looked at some of our most vulnerable patients taking more than five medications. The reviews have avoided adverse combinations of drugs and hospitalisations while also reducing prescriptions and drugs costs.

“We will know more when the full evaluation is published in June, we will work with partners to see how we can these improvements can be applied more widely, potentially saving lives and money.”  

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Source: Scottish Government, 10 March 2023


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