§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
In regard to residential homes for the elderly, we already issue positive and detailed guidance; on the safeguards which should be observed in administering medicines to residents, whether those medicines have been prescribed in bulk or for named individuals. We expect local authorities to ensure the operation of these arrangements. We look to the676W pharmaceutical and medical professions in the first place for consideration of any professional issues which may be involved in bulk prescribing and will give serious consideration to any agreed proposal which may emerge from their discussions. At this stage, I see no reason for the Government to call the meetings at which such discussions can take place.
§ Mr. Oakes
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in view of the Royal College of Physicians' report on medication for the elderly, he will take further action to prevent elderly people in residential homes being given potent medicines not prescribed for them individually as a result of prescribing in bulk.
§ Mr. John Patten
The report of the Royal College of Physicians, "Medication for the Elderly" is a welcome additional warning. The Department's memorandum of guidance on arrangements for health care in residential homes for elderly people already provides detailed guidance for care staff on the use of medicines. This includes a clear direction that drugs must not be administered to residents for whom they have not been prescribed.