What was delivered in 2022-23? 


Medicines have saved and improved the lives of millions of people. However, as more and more people live longer with multiple long-term conditions, the number of medicines they take increases. Not only can this have a significant burden on the patient, but it can also be harmful. Studies have shown that that over 50% of older people are prescribed a medicine with more harm than benefit, which can lead to avoidable morbidity, hospitalisation and mortality.

  • We successfully upscaled the regional Wessex polypharmacy programme to national delivery.
  • We continued to facilitate the Wessex Polypharmacy Community of Practice (CoP), a multi-stakeholder, cross sector group of individuals with an interest in reducing problematic polypharmacy within their geographical area. In 2022-23, the CoP met three times to collaborate, share best practice and deliver on agreed priorities.
  • Ongoing delivery of our local Polypharmacy Action Learning Sets (ALSs), which aim to upskill the primary care workforce to be more confident about stopping unnecessary medicines. Delegates attending in 2022-23 were very positive about their experience. We also published evidence on the impact of the model, which was developed and piloted by Wessex AHSN with support from Health Education England (HEE).
  • We worked closely with both Dorset and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) to agree and align priorities areas for programme delivery.
  • We collaborated with colleagues in the Wessex AHSN Insight team to agree how to collect, store and share local data with ICBs and Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in Wessex.
  • We continue to test and evaluate our co-produced patient campaign, Me and My Medicines, to contribute to the national and international evidence base on how to influence public behaviour in relation to medicines. Our Me and My Medicines project with local PCNs was planned and we completed a small-scale pilot as part of a national study.
  • We continue to support clinicians to become Polypharmacy Action Learning Set trainers, with three more individuals engaged and successfully accredited this year. 
  • We developed a programme of polypharmacy masterclasses for delivery in 2023/24.

Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)

  • We continued to chair the Wessex eRD steering group, which met four times in 2022-23.
  • We produced a patient video outlining the benefits of eRD.
  • We contributed to the development of the eRD workforce report created by Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN.
  • We provided eRD training and problem-solving sessions to primary care staff across Wessex and worked with PCNs to identify training needs.
  • We met with NHS England’s Digital Medicines Lead to discuss eRD and how the NHS App could better support it.  

“I think the action learning sets have improved my confidence in addressing the more difficult polypharmacy situations and encouraged me to discuss those particularly complex patients with the wider multidisciplinary team. It has pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge inappropriate prescribing when I see it.”

Specialist Pharmacist, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board

 “The ability for patients just to come in and collect their prescriptions when they need them seems to be something that patients like... It’s really useful then just to be able to access that prescription and dispense it virtually straight away.”

Pharmacist using eRD in Wessex

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