The NHS has announced plans to recruit an ‘army’ of experts to tackle over-medication in care homes, with many already in place.

The pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will prevent care home residents from being given too many medicines as part of a package of measures to improve older people’s health and care in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Currently, care home residents are prescribed an average of seven medicines a day, with many taking 10 or more, costing the NHS an estimated £250 million each year.

Due to concerns about the over-medication, the 200 new clinical pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will support care home residents to improve their quality of life, cut hospital stays and reduce over-medication.

Chair of RPS in England Sandra Gidley says she is “delighted that the programme of recruiting pharmacists and pharmacy technicians into care homes across England has proved successful and will continue.”

“RPS has long campaigned for this to happen to improve the health of our most vulnerable populations. Including pharmacy professionals in the care home workforce has been proven to cut medication errors, reduce polypharmacy and make savings for the NHS, benefitting patient care and safety.

“Making pharmacists part of the multidisciplinary team matches the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan, which emphasises working across traditional boundaries with other health professions to drive up standards of care. We look forward to seeing the programme expand even further and to helping colleagues, residents and their families and carers.”

The recruits are part of a wider £20 million programme to reduce unnecessary medication of patients and make sure they are getting the right treatment that is being rolled out across the country.