Medical manual released at Brussels event

Experts from Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the Scottish Government have launched a new book outlining new strategies for the safer, more effective use of medicines in older people.

SIMPATHY BookThe reference book – ‘Polypharmacy management by 2030: a patient safety challenge’ – was created as part of the European Union-funded SIMPATHY project (Simulating Innovation Management of Polypharmacy and Adherence in the Elderly).

It was launched by Shona Robinson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, at a recent meeting held at Scotland House in Brussels. The meeting was attended by experts from over 20 countries and 13 European organisations and associations.

Ms Robinson highlighted that there has to be change and improvement in the use of multiple medicines among older patents.

She said: “Across Europe, people are living longer and more people are being treated with multiple medicines. This adds pressure to the health and care system and may put patients at risk of harm. Care becomes more complex, and waste and costs may increase.

“What we want to do is change the management of polypharmacy – use of multiple medicines – to deliver better outcomes for patients across Europe and cost-effective use of resources.

“Today I have asked others to support my call for action to make changes that are needed across health and care systems, to provide comprehensive, integrated patient-centred solutions to address the challenges associated with polypharmacy – now and in the future.”

At the event, delegates signed a pledge to learn more about the challenge of polypharmacy, to raise awareness of the solutions and help advocate change and improvement within their health systems.

Neelam Dhingra, Coordinator Patient Safety and Quality from the World Health Organisation said: “We face a global challenge of a rapidly aging population and optimising the use of medicines is an important enabler of healthy aging. I am delighted to pledge my support for the call to action.”

Alpana Mair, Co-ordinator of the SIMPATHY project said: “The issue of the call to action and the launch of the reference book marks a successful multi-national collaboration. I hope this achievement will influence change towards adopting new strategies for the safer, more effective use of medicines for multi-morbidity in aging.”

Professor Derek Stewart and Dr Katie MacLure, from RGU’s School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences are members of the SIMPATHY project team and attended the meeting in Brussels.

Professor Stewart said: “The appropriate use of medicines is a key issue for all members of society, be it policy makers, health professionals, patients, family member or carers. There is also a key role for academics, researchers and students in all aspects of medicines use in older people.

“The involvement of RGU in this project and the reference book is a positive sign of the expertise the university has within medicines related research and we hope to continue to make a difference going forward.”

Learn more about the EU-funded SIMPATHY project, download the reference book and join the call to action here.

Release by Jonathon Milne
Communications Officer | Health and Sport
Press and Media Enquiries