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NICE NPSA medicines reconciliation adults hospital

Reference number
Issue date01 December 2007

This guidance is issued jointly by the National Reporting and Learning Service and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. It aims to reduce medication errors, which occur most commonly on transfer between care settings and on admission to hospital.

The aim of medicines reconciliation on admission is to ensure that medicines prescribed on admission correspond to those that the patient was taking before admission. Details to be recorded include the name of the medicine(s), dosage, frequency, and route of administration. Establishing these details may involve discussion with the patient and/or carers and the use of records from primary care. This does not include medicines review. 

  • All healthcare organisations that admit adult inpatients should put policies in place for medicines reconciliation on admission. This includes mental health units, and applies to elective and emergency admissions.
  • In addition to specifying standardised systems for collecting and documenting information about current medications, policies for medicines reconciliation on admission should ensure that:

  • pharmacists are involved in medicines reconciliation as soon as possible after admission;
  • the responsibilities of pharmacists and other staff in the medicines reconciliation process are clearly defined; these responsibilities may differ between clinical areas; and 
  • strategies are incorporated to obtain information about medications for people with communication difficulties.

This guidance applies to the NHS in England and Wales. It is available to download from the NICE website.