44% of NHS adult inpatients state they were not told about medication effects

29 September, 2023

Ensuring patients are properly involved in their treatment choices, as well as the potential outcomes, is a long-standing priority highlighted in both NICE guidelines and Care Quality Commission (CQC) requirements.

For patient involvement to be effective, it’s important for patients to understand the medication and treatment options that are available to them and the effects they will have, as well as the condition they are being treated for and why the treatment is important.

Nuffield Trust have recently conducted a survey to explore whether patients are indeed kept informed about potential medication side-effects and what to watch out for, by the following types of NHS facilities:

  • Urgent and emergency care
  • Adult inpatient
  • Community mental health

Nuffield Trust concluded that over 44% of adult inpatients stated they were not informed about potential side-effects. Following urgent and emergency care, this figure was 42%, with community mental health fairing slightly better at 25%.

When looking at whether patients were informed about medication side effects upon discharge adult inpatient facilities, the most recent results in 2021 found that just 25% of patients stated they were informed about potential side-effects for any of the medicines they had been prescribed to take home.

The full results of this survey can be found at the Nuffield Trust website.

Assisting with patient involvement

While this survey was focused on the NHS, patient involvement is equally important within the independent sector, both for helping achieve positive patient outcomes, as well as helping hospitals and hospices to meet relevant regulatory requirements.

Ashtons provides two key services that can help with patient involvement:

  • MaPPsgives an electronic summary of each patient’s medication with a plain English explanation of what each drug is and what it is for. Summaries can be printed by nurses and given directly to patients. This saves time for hospital staff when explaining medication and treatment to patients.
  • Choice & Medicationa valued online information resource explaining mental health conditions and medicines. It can be used by prescribers and nurses to help patients make choices about their psychiatric medicines. Staff can also easily compare the medicines used for each mental health condition or use it as a reference source to aid their continuous professional development.

For Ashtons clients, both ‘MaPPs’ and ‘Choice & Medication’ can be access via Ashtons Live View.

If you are not currently an Ashtons client, but would like to know more about how Ashtons can help you with patient involvement in treatment choices, please contact us here.