The programme

Medicines, used to best effect, benefit both patients and the NHS, but all too often medicine use is suboptimal, leading to lost benefit and preventable harm and waste.
Medicines Optimisation (MO) brings together the concepts of patient centred care, self-management, shared decision making and evidence-based medicine.
Our Medicines Optimisation programme focuses on two areas: Atrial Fibrillation and Diabetes. By putting the emphasis on safety, governance, professional collaboration and patient engagement we are identifying “how do we get the best out of medicines?”


In England, around 15 million people have a long-term condition (LTC) that is controlled by medicines and other therapies. The optimal use of prescribed medicines is vital to the self-management of most LTCs. However, it is estimated that between 30 and 50 per cent of prescribed medicines are not taken as recommended. This can lead to inadequate management of the LTC and may result in an avoidable hospital admission. Members have requested we work with them to gain the benefit of Medicines Optimisation. Medicines is the second biggest spend in the NHS after staffing, therefore providing huge efficiency opportunities.

How are we helping?

Our Medicines Optimisation programme is releasing the talent and leadership in Medicines Optimisation across Yorkshire and Humber through managed accountable partnerships delivering member-led projects that drive improvement. Linking into place based plans, Medicines Optimisation will have a platform to deliver efficiency savings.

Through our Medicines Optimisation programme we are:

  • Increasing joint working initiatives with both the pharmaceutical industry and the digital technology sector through the Yorkshire & Humber Innovation Exchange.
  • Establishing a Yorkshire & Humber Medicines Optimisation Translational Research Community.
  • Working with community pharmacy teams to improve the safety of dispensing.
  • Working with CCGs and Medicines Safety Officers to demonstrate how GP practices can improve safety through enhanced Significant Event Audit.
  • Working with CCGs to examine place-based decision making about medicines with a view to transforming area prescribing committees.
  • Supporting CCGs and GP practices to reduce the incidence of avoidable strokes for patients with atrial fibrillation.
  • Developing a patient centred approach to avoiding hypoglycaemia for patients with diabetes.

Our impact to date

  • The Yorkshire & Humber AHSN delivered a 20-week Pharmacy Training & Action for Patient Safety (TAPS) programme focusing on reducing dispensing errors within pharmacies.
  • Pharmacy TAPS training was delivered to 95 pharmacies within the Yorkshire region and 95% of participants ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that the course provided them with practical advice and skills.
  • Created the Medicines Optimisation Translational Research Centre, a new community of research of active individuals and organisations who support each other to foster and coordinate translational research in the field of medicines optimisation. It provides a conduit for the products of research activity to drive service improvement and the adoption of innovation in medicines optimisation.

Next Steps

We are focusing our effort on delivering improvements in care in AF, diabetes and medicines safety whilst we co-produce our other work streams with our partner organisations.