Hospital budgets overstretched by drugs16th April 2009
Scotland’s public spending watchdog has warned that hospital budgets are being stretched by the cost of expensive medicines.
In a new report, Audit Scotland said the country's acute hospitals spent £222m on drugs for patients in 2007-08, a figure which represented a 76% increase in the total bill of £126m five years earlier.
This amounted to an average of £70 spent on drugs for each patient treated in hospital over the last year, it added.
Drug costs have risen faster than overall hospital expenditure in Scotland, which has risen by 69% over the past five years.
The Audit Scotland report said: "Boards need better information on how medicines are used to help them monitor whether patients are getting the most appropriate medicines."
It also felt that progress in developing information systems to support medicines management and help improve patient safety in hospitals had been slow.
However, the auditor said the Scottish Medicines Consortium was providing health boards with better information on the anticipated impact new medicines on budgets.
It wants boards to work with the Scottish government to implement a centralised record system as soon as possible of what each patient has been prescribed.
Caroline Gardner, deputy Auditor General for Scotland, said: "The NHS has got better at planning for new medicines and it is doing more to promote cost-effective prescribing. But it needs better information on what medicines are being used to treat what conditions."
But she stressed that medicines needed to be used in a cost effective way.
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Title: Hospital budgets overstretched by drugs
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 11006
Date Added: 16th Apr 2009