Magazine article Public Finance

Scottish Hospitals Must Manage Medicines Better, Say Auditors

Magazine article Public Finance

Scottish Hospitals Must Manage Medicines Better, Say Auditors

Article excerpt

The NHS in Scotland needs to improve the budgeting and cost control of hospital medicines, Audit Scotland has advised.

In its study Scottish prescription: managing the use of medicines in Scotland, the public sector watchdog found that spending on medicines was rising faster than NHS costs overall. It concluded that Scottish health service boards needed to improve planning and budget setting while promoting cost-effective prescriptions.

Audit Scotland noted that in recent years there had been an increase both in the numbers of medicines available to treat patients and in the types of staff who can prescribe them.

While overall hospital running costs increased by 32% in the four years to 2003/04, expenditure on drugs increased by 56% in the same period. Average spending on medicines per patient in Scottish acute hospitals has risen by 65% since 2001/02, the study found.

It identified several areas where improvements could be made. These included better information on new medicines' anticipated costs, benefits and recommended chances in use.

The inspectors said this would help managers set more effective budgets.

The report also called for better information on medicine use in hospitals, to monitor whether patients were setting the most appropriate treatment. …

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