News & Views
Home > Case Study > Birmingham polypharmacy review improves patient care and reduces costs

Birmingham polypharmacy review improves patient care and reduces costs

Our pharmacist-led polypharmacy review in Birmingham resulted in better patient care and cost improvements within its first year.

Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group commissioned our pharmacist-led Polypharmacy Review Service to carry out a three-year polypharmacy review starting October 2016. This continued after the CCG merged with Birmingham CrossCity and Solihull CCGs to form Birmingham and Solihull CCG in April 2018.

Level 3 medication reviews for adult patients are delivered by a team of pharmacists with support from technicians and an administrator. EMIS searches in practices are risk-stratified to prioritise patients for review. An adapted version of the RIO tool is used to identify patients at risk of hospital admission.

Face-to-face reviews are carried out in the clinic or in the patient’s own home. Pharmacists then meet GPs to explain their recommendations and follow up patients as necessary.

The reviews:

  • ensure each patient is prescribed safe and appropriate medicines
  • assess any adverse drug reactions and drug interactions
  • assess patient compliance and address any issues
  • de-prescribe unnecessary or harmful medicines
  • provide information and address patient concerns
  • monitor drug therapy
  • resolve interface issues, for example with secondary care
  • produce a patient-specific pharmaceutical care plan.

The Polypharmacy Review Service is reducing avoidable harm and the potential risk of premature death, enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions, helping people recover from illness or injury, and improving patients’ experience of care.

By November 2018 (with just under 12 months to go), a total of 4,225 drugs had been stopped, 2610 quantity reduced and 150 switched, and 307 potential hospital admissions had been avoided. From the 5,343 patients reviewed, the total estimated cost improvement resulting from de-prescribing, switching drugs and reducing quantities and from potentially reduced hospital admissions is just over £1million.

The review team are continuously undertaking evaluation surveys with GPs and patients. Of the 1026 patient survey returns received so far, 99 per cent of respondents found their reviews very helpful or helpful. Of the 61 GP practice returns, 98 per cent of respondents found the reviews and the scheme very helpful or helpful.


I can’t emphasise enough how valuable the polypharmacy service was, I wish it was available annually. It is extremely useful.

Dr Iram Khattak, The Khattak Memorial Surgery, Birmingham

Hopefully this service will continue as it has been very useful for us & the patients.
GP responding to survey

Brilliant idea, great service.

Good service. Should be recommended to all patients.
Patients responding to survey

Get in touch

Kingston House

438-450 High Street
West Bromwich
West Midlands
B70 9LD

0121 612 1500
  • Heron House
  • Springfields Health & Wellbeing Centre

Midlands and Lancashire CSU
120 Grove Road
Stoke on Trent

0300 404 2999

Midlands and Lancashire CSU
1st Floor
Lovett Court
WS15 2QD

0300 404 2999
Jubilee House

Midlands and Lancashire CSU
Lancashire Business Park
PR26 6TR

01772 214200
Liverpool Innovation Park

Office 2
2nd Floor
Building 2
Liverpool Innovation Park
360 Edge Lane
L7 9NJ

0151 295 8612/8619
  • 1829 Building, Chester
  • Old Market House
  • Clark House

1829 Building
Countess of Chester Health Park
Liverpool Road

01244 650 300

Hamilton Street
CH41 5AL

0151 514 2335 EXT 1487

Hulley Road
SK10 2LU

01606 544 791
Cardinal Square

3rd Floor North Point,
10 Nottingham Road,
Derby DE1 3QT
East Midlands

01332 888231
St Johns House

St Johns House
30 East Street
United Kingdom

0121 611 0100