On May 18th 2016 the Medicines Optimisation in Older People Think Tank was attended by 50 people representing hospital and community pharmacy, local commissioning groups, GPs, the Department of Health, the Mid-East Antrim Agewell Partnership and the Health & Social Care Board. Ms Anne Friel (Regional Lead, MOOP) outlined the objectives of the day which included: describing a strategic approach to medicines optimisation for older people in Northern Ireland, sharing best practice and gathering ideas to inform a regional strategy for medicines optimisation for older people.

Dr Mark Timoney (Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Department of Health) set the scene by outlining the change in population demographics in Northern Ireland. He told the audience we have both an obligation to our increasing population of older people to optimise their medicines and to focus on their healthcare journey, whilst also rationalising the healthcare system. Ideas should be ‘borrowed shamelessly’ with evidence-based practice introduced and scaled up across the province. There should be closer interprofessional ties with GPs and nurses, supported by enabling information technology, and clear connectivity between primary and secondary care.

Issues and priorities

This keynote lecture was followed by short presentations from pharmacists working in various settings including care homes, intermediate care and the acute setting. Innovations and new services presented included: a pilot of Frailsafe®; BCH direct; intermediate care and care home case management; a falls assessment project; and the SHSCT Acute Care @ Home service.  The Think Tank attendees were asked to identify their main issues and priorities. All the presentations and priorities identified are available on the MOIC website (look at Presentations) or can be requested from Dr Ruth Miller, Project Manager, MOOP, ruth.miller@westerntrust.hscni.net.

In the picture from left to right: Carmel Darcy, Mark Timoney, Cathy Harrison, Joe Brogan, Ruth Miller, Anne Friel, Hilary McKee.