Going into hospital? Changing GP? Help ensure you get the right medicines.
If you are going into hospital or changing from one healthcare service to another, you or your carer should make a complete, up-to-date list of the medicines you take. This helps ensure that you continue to get all the medicines you have been prescribed.
When you change doctors, hospitals and other care providers, records that show all the medicines you take should move with you.
Sometimes, this doesn't happen as it should. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says that between 30% and 70% of patients experience an error or unintended change to their medicines when their care is transferred, for example from a GP to a hospital or between hospitals.
Getting the wrong medicines, or not getting all the medicines you have been prescribed, can be harmful.
How you can help
You or your carer can help your health professionals keep track of your medicines by keeping a complete, up-to-date list of all the medicines you currently take. If you need help making a list, ask a doctor or health professional.
You can download a form from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's website to help you make a medicines list.
This list can help you and health professionals keep track of your medicines. Take the list with you when you go away from home for an extended period, for example on holiday. It may be useful to you or health professionals if you become unwell while you are away from home.
Keep all your medicines together in a safe place. Don’t keep out-of-date medicines or medicines that you no longer need. Take them to a pharmacist to be disposed of safely.
Don’t stop taking medicines that you have been prescribed without talking to your GP or healthcare professional.
Medicines come with a patient information leaflet. This contains information about their safe and effective use. If you do not receive an information leaflet with the medicine, ask for one.
If you have questions or concerns about your medicines, ask a doctor or healthcare professional for help. If you don’t understand what the doctor tells you, ask them to explain it again more simply.
Alternatively, you can ask your local pharmacist about your medicines. You can also ask them about a Medicines Use Review. This is where the pharmacist goes through your medicines with you and discusses any problems or concerns you might have. Find out more about how your pharmacy can help.
Medicines and hospital
If you’re going into hospital, changing hospitals or leaving hospital, you can help ensure that your medicines records go with you. This will mean you keep getting the medicines you need.
Going into hospital
Before you go into hospital, make a complete, up-to-date list of your medicines.
Take the list into hospital with you, and show it to your healthcare staff. If you have been asked to bring your medicines with you, make sure you include all the medicines you take.
Moving between hospitals
If you move between hospitals, take your up-to-date medicines list with you.
If possible, keep all your medicines together and in their original containers.
In hospital, a doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional should check your medicines within 24 hours of your arrival. Ask someone if this doesn’t happen.
When you leave hospital, ask for your medicines to be explained to you. This is particularly important if you have been prescribed new medicines.
Each of your medicines should come with a patient information leaflet. If you don’t receive one, ask for it so you can refer to it later.
Ask for written information on your medicines, so you have a record that you can refer to later.
Remember to add any new medicines to your medicines list. If you need help with this, ask hospital staff.
The next time you see your GP, check that they know about any changes to your medicines. It can be helpful to take your medicines list with you to your appointment.