Medicines optimisation

Reducing unwarranted variation and increasing value through medicines optimisation is a crucial element of NHS RightCare’s innovation work.

Medication is a crucial element of almost every type of care, and is the most common form of healthcare intervention. However, ineffective use of medicines is a recognised problem that has an impact on the economy, society, healthcare system and patients.

Medicines optimisation is a change in the way that patients are supported to get the best possible outcomes from their medicines, through the adoption of a patient-focused approach to medicines use.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has produced good practice guidance detailing four guiding principles for medicines optimisation. These are:

  1. Aim to understand the patient’s experience
  2. Evidence-based choice of medicines
  3. Make sure medicines us is as safe as possible
  4. Make medicines optimisation part of routine practice

Tools and products to optimise the use of medicines

NHS RightCare and partner organisations, including NICE and CQC, have brought together some key products and tools to help health professionals. These have been split into the following topics:

Where to look

NHS England

  • Medicines optimisation dashboard – allows local NHS organisations to highlight variation in local practice and provoke discussion on the appropriateness of local care. It is not intended as a performance measurement tool.

Open prescribing

What to change

Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

  • Choosing wisely – about encouraging enough doctors and patients to have a conversation about the value of treatments.


How to change


Royal Pharmaceutical Society

  • Good practice guide – principles to guide practice, pdfs focusing on range of conditions designed for pharmacists to use in practice. Use the four RPS principles: patient experience, evidence, safe and effective, routine practice.
  • Medicines Optimisation Briefings.


  • PrescQIPP is an NHS funded not-for-profit organisation that supports NHS organisations to deliver quality, optimised prescribing for patients through the provision of a range of robust, evidence-based tools and resources, training and events. Since spinning out from an NHS Strategic Health Authority in 2013, PrescQIPP has grown to build a successful subscription-based model, that now supports over 75% of UK commissioning organisations.


All Wales Medicines Strategy Group

Lewis T

Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education

Oxford Academic Health Science Network

North East and North Cumbria AHSN

Wessex AHSN

West of England AHSN