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07 September 2020

Researchers awarded grant to improve prescribing safety for elderly people in the UK

We are all living longer, and many older people have lifelong conditions which require hospital admissions. Doctors are increasingly prescribing multiple medications and it is common for them to be unnecessary, leading to undesirable outcomes such as additional side effects and hospital admissions.

GP prescribing medication to elderly lady

To address these issues in our health system, a team of researchers from the School of Population Health & Environmental Sciences, led by Dr Patrick Redmond has been awarded an Academy of Medical Sciences grant of £30k to conduct a study of medicine discontinuity after hospital admission in the UK.

We don’t know enough about the risks of inappropriate prescribing and discontinuity of medicines however these issues are fundamental to the sustainability of our health system. Through this project, we will identify the issues around quality prescribing at discharge and develop an innovative intervention to ensure safe and effective prescribing.

Dr Patrick Redmond, Academic General Practitioner and NIHR Clinical Lecturer

The study will allow for the exploration of novel areas such as the economic cost of the discontinuation of appropriate medicines in future studies. This will inform the development of a complex intervention using a Medical Research Council framework and the expertise of pharmacists, bioinformaticians, engineers, implementation science experts and patients to produce a robust, theoretically informed intervention.

With the success of this grant and additional funding from the NIHR Research Design Service to engage with the King’s Stroke Research Patients and Family Group PPI group to interpret the findings of this project, Patrick will be ideally positioned to apply for larger project funding to further evaluate a prescribing optimisation intervention and personally apply for an NIHR Development and Skills Enhancement Award focussed on clinical trials.

"In keeping with our broader School strategy and the identified areas of importance for funding by the NIHR, this work builds on a programme of research in safe prescribing at King's." – Dr Patrick Redmond

Dr Redmond and his colleagues welcome enquiries on this project and the wider research they’re conducting to support prescribing safety. They recently published an open-access article setting out policy solutions for medicines reconciliation at transitions of care in Ireland. They have also recently been recognised with an award from the NIHR School for Primary Care Research for a study examining the linked issues of prescribing quality and multimorbidity in middle-aged adults.

In this story

Patrick Redmond

NIHR Clinical Lecturer