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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

WARNING. 80% of older hospital patients discharged with the wrong drugs

The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (reference 2018; doi: 10.1111/bcp.13607; and doi: 10.1111/bcp.13613) has published a study by the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland that has found that around 4 out of 5 older patients are being discharged from hospital with 'inappropriate' medication, such as the wrong drug. Not unsurprisingly they say that it is causing a life-changing reactions, and even death.

This has been reported in the magazine "What Doctors Don't Tell You", which should become a must-read magazine for anyone who wishes to maintain good health. They say that these prescribing errors are often responsible for the death of an elderly patient, and for those who are not killed suffer serious reactions requiring at least a further three hospital admissions before they recover.

  • Around half of older patients die after they were given a wrong drug or weren't given the drug they needed, say researchers at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland.
  • They analysed the records of 259 patients—with an average age of 77—who had been discharged from hospital. They were given a total of 2,411 medications, which means many had nine or more prescriptions, and 59% were given 'inappropriate medications', such as a wrong drug, and nearly 70 per cent weren't given the drug they were supposed to have.
  • Over the following 40 months, around half had died, and the rest had been readmitted to hospital at least twice.
WDDTY states that this shocking problem is far worse than any other research had suggested, and refers to another study in which researchers found that 1 in 3 older people suffered a serious reaction to a drug after being discharged from hospital.

The new study involved 1,280 people, and the researchers said that the cost to the UK's NHS is £396m a year, with 90% of that figure being related to hospital readmissions.

More research is now reporting a similar pattern, with GP's being urged to be 'vigilant' as a new study from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School revealed that between September 2013 and November 2015, one in six older adults "suffers preventable medication-related harm following hospital discharge". It found that within 8 weeks of discharge, 75% of patients who experienced drug-related harm needed more healthcare. The researchers estimated that such harm costs the NHS £396m every year, with more than 90% of this attributed to hospital readmission. This was reported in the doctor's e-magazine Pulse, and published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

The discussion in the Pulse article focused on improving the follow-up and discharge procedures from hospital. The mainstream British media has been silent. No-where has there been discussion that the NHS is operating a dangerous form of medicine which almost inevitably harms patients. The Pulse article does say that the research finding follows a think tank report found that emergency re-admissions within 30 days of leaving hospital had risen by a fifth in the last seven years. Nowhere was there any recognition that conventional medicine, dominated by pharmaceutical drugs, was causing these costs, and that these were contributing to the NHS's funding crisis.