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BMA - Non prescription medication for care homes

Following a query from an LMC that some practices are reporting that they are receiving increasingly detailed requests from care homes about ‘homely remedies’, requesting a GP to sign a form for the administration of these remedies, the GPC Prescribing policy group’s advice is:

We approve of patients in residential homes or other such environments self-caring or receiving over-the-counter (OTC) medicines as all other people do, although recognise that their frailty does being with it special problems. Many care homes are introducing these policies, sometimes with the approval of local medicines management schemes, and GPs are being asked to complete the paperwork as an alternative to receiving inappropriate prescription requests.

The main problem, however, is that there is no guarantee that the circumstances that were present when the form was signed still apply when the OTC medicine is to be used, and there is a real danger that these forms will not be updated when patients’ circumstances change.

Therefore, it is safest if OTC medicines are available to care home residents after the input of a community pharmacist, where possible from the same pharmacy that supplies the patient’s normal medication. This is an appropriate use of a pharmacists skills, within their competence, and in line with the low value medicines agenda.

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