Medicines and prescribing

Information for clinicians on medicines and prescribing

In order to commission the best healthcare for the population of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, we need to make sure that patients have access to the best medicines available, and ensure that these are used in the most appropriate way.

Medicines play a crucial role in maintaining health, preventing illness, managing long-term conditions, and curing disease. When used incorrectly, they can also cause significant harm.

The NHS in England spends £13bn per year on medicines. This is the second largest area of expenditure after staff costs. This money, which could be spent on other types of patient care, has to be invested wisely.

The NHS faces unprecedented change in terms of patients living longer with long-term, sometimes complex conditions; increasing demands on NHS funding, and the wider economic situation.

With this in mind, consider also that:

  • up to 50% of patients do not take their medicines as intended
  • between five and eight per-cent of all unplanned hospital admissions are due to medication issues
  • in primary care it is estimated at least £300m is spent each year on medicines that go to waste
  • according to medication safety data, the NHS could do much better at reporting and preventing avoidable harm from medicines
  • resistance to antibiotics presents a very real and significant threat to modern healthcare.

(from NHS England)

Prescribing advice and guidance

The Integrated Care Board and Hospital Trusts in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire produce local guidance for prescribers to complement what is available nationally. Local prescribing guidance can be accessed on the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Joint Formulary Website.

The Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Joint Formulary was created in the spirit of co-operative collaboration between different NHS organisations across the areas and has been designed as an advice and guidance tool to assist in promoting safe, effective and sustainable prescribing. It is a joint venture between primary and secondary care, covering all prescribing within the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Health community. This therefore ensures that patients have continuity in their treatment when they move between different healthcare settings.

Joint Formulary

Contact us

If you would like to get in touch with the Medicines Optimisation team, please email: