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University lecturer helps improve patient involvement in decisions about medicines

2 February 09


Dr Mahendra Patel, Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation, The University of Bradford, has played a key role within a development group, to help formulate National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

Dr Mahendra Patel, Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation, The University of Bradford, has played a key role within a development group, to help formulate National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines.

New NICE guidelines published on 28 January will outline how healthcare professionals can involve and support patients in decisions about taking prescribed medicines. Treatment and care should be tailored according to the needs of the individual patient.

Dr Patel and the development group have recommended that the guidelines will propose that healthcare professionals will encourage patients to engage in a two-way dialogue, so that patients are involved in the decision about their prescription and that the patient's decision to use medicines is an informed decision. This includes clearly explaining to the patient about the disease or condition, how the medicine influences this and also clarifying what the patient expects from treatment. It should encourage healthcare professionals to identify and help address any concerns patients might have about the medicines they have been prescribed.

Nearly half of medicines prescribed for long term conditions are not used as prescribed. The guideline recognises that non-adherence can occur because of a failure to achieve informed agreement to the prescription in the first place or to identify and provide the support that a patient needs later on. The recommendations apply to all healthcare professionals who prescribe or dispense medicines or who have a role in making decisions about medicines with patients. Patients would also have the right to choose not to take medicines but in such instances be offered additional support and information, and appropriate healthcare intervention as an alternative to help in their treatment plan. It is important that where adherence is recognised to be poor regular reviews should be undertaken.

The guidelines will also help out those people of black, south Asian and minority ethnic origin, where CHD (heart disease) and diabetes is highest in the country and compliance to treatment is poor - largely through lack of understanding, poor communication or cultural/religious beliefs. The guidelines suggest that healthcare professionals must establish the most effective way of communicating with each patient and, if necessary, consider ways of making information accessible and understandable - like using an interpreter or health advocate.

Dr Mahendra Patel said: "The guideline is an excellent opportunity for healthcare professionals to help deliver a first class service for patients to achieve the most from their medication and treatment. It will help all patients across the UK but also offer the opportunity to improve medication and treatment amongst the most disadvantaged groups."

Note

The guidelines are available from 28 January at www.nice.org.uk/CG76 (external link)

2 February 09

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