She said: “Our overstretched NHS is crying out for solutions and this one is bang on target.”Too often, elderly patients were put on extra drugs, without being taken off existing medication, leaving many taking dangerous combinations, she said.“Medicines get added to prescriptions over time to treat different problems and before you know it residents are on a cocktail of drugs which interact badly, make them ill and lead to unnecessary hospital admissions,” she said.New figures from NHS Digital show the number of prescriptions issued for antidepressants continues to rise, with a doubling from 33.8 million in 2007 to 67.5 million prescriptions last yearMeanwhile, the number of prescriptions for opiate-based painkillers rose by 78 per cent from 13.4 million to 23.8 million prescriptions over the same period, while prescriptions for statins rose by 53 per cent, from 47.4 million to 72.6 million.Last month a new study found deaths from addictive painkillers have almost doubled in a decade as trends in Britain follow “alarming” US patterns.The study led by University College London Hospital found a sharp rise in prescribing of opioid drugs, despite repeated warnings that the drugs should not be given for long periods because of their addictive qualities.It came after ministers ordered a landmark review of prescription drug addiction, amid concern over the rising number of people becoming hooked on painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants in midlife and old age. Show more They are concerned that vulnerable people are being left for years on a cocktail of drugs, leaving them heavily sedated or exposed to dangerous side-effects which are risking lives and fuelling hospital admissions.The average care home resident takes seven drugs, with medication for dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes among those commonly taken.But some of the drugs interact with each other, while others, such as opiate-based painkillers and sleeping pills, can become addictive or cause major health problems. One in ten pensioners over the age of 75 is on at least 10 different drugs, NHS prescribing data shows, with statins, sleeping pills and opiates among the most common medications.Health officials are to fund 240 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to go into care homes across the country, working with GPs, starting by assessing the medication of around 180,000 patients. Pharmacists are to carry out checks on every care home in the country amid fears that thousands of elderly people are being subjected to the ‘chemical cosh’.Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, will today order the deployment of hundreds of pharmacists to review medication being routinely doled out.The chief executive raised fears that a generation of pensioners has become increasingly doped up on a cocktail of drugs, causing more harm than it solves, fuelling record hospital admissions.He spoke as new figures show the number of prescriptions issued for painkillers and anti-depressants have almost doubled in a decade, with 91 million issued last year.Mr Stevens told The Telegraph: “There’s increasing evidence that our parents and their friends – a whole generation of people in their 70s, 80s and 90s – are being overmedicated in care homes, with bad results.“Let’s face it – the policy of ‘a pill for every ill’ is often causing frail older people more health problems than it’s solving,” he added, as he outlined a new national policy to review the medicines issued to residents of care homes across England. Pilot NHS schemes in six areas of the country found such checks could reduce hospital admissions by up to a fifth and ambulance call outs by a third.One scheme found that every 12 reviews resulted in one less patient ending up being readmitted to hospital, after being discharged to a care home.Sandra Gidley, chairman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, welcomed the schemes, which will be rolled out across the country. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A whole generation of people in their 70s, 80s and 90s are being overmedicated in care homes, with bad resultsSimon Stevens
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPakistan to seek world court ruling on KashmirAugust 20, 2019In “latest news”Sharma century sees India into Champions Trophy final with PakistanJune 16, 2017In “latest news”Pakistan cricket fan faces 10-year jail term for hoisting India flagJanuary 29, 2016In “latest news” (BBC) A top UN court has ordered Pakistan not to execute a former Indian navy officer convicted on charges of spying until it has had time to hear a case brought by India.India has argued in The International Court of Justice that Pakistan violated international laws by not allowing it access to Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav.Jadhav was arrested in the province of Balochistan in March last year (AFP photo)Mr Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016 and convicted last month.India denies Mr Jadhav is a spy, and Pakistan denies kidnapping him.Sitting in The Hague, the court rejected Pakistan’s argument that it did not have jurisdiction over the case, and said it would hear the case and seek arguments from both sides.“It is appropriate for the court to order that Pakistan take all measures at its disposal to ensure Mr Jadhav is not executed before this court has given its final decision,” court president Ronny Abraham said on Thursday.“India has the right to seek consular access for Jadhav,” he said.Who is Kulbhushan Jadhav?The 46-year-old was a resident of MumbaiHe is the son of Sudhir Jadhav, a retired Mumbai police officerA former officer, he was in the navy for more than a dozen yearsHis family says he quit the navy to start his own business and was working from Iran’s Chabahar portHe is married and has childrenThe ICJ was set up in 1945 to rule on disputes between nations in accordance with international law.The last time India and Pakistan took a dispute to the court was in 1999 when Islamabad protested against the downing of a Pakistani navy plane that killed 16 people.The court had then decided it was not competent to rule in the dispute and closed the case.Meanwhile, there are differing accounts of how and where Mr Jadhav was detained.Pakistan says he was detained on 3 March 2016 in restive Balochistan province, which has been hit by a separatist insurgency that Islamabad accuses India of backing. India says he was kidnapped by Pakistan while he was in Iran.The nuclear-armed neighbours have a long history of diplomatic spats and Delhi and Islamabad often accuse each other of sending spies into their territories.In November last year, Pakistan withdrew six officials from its mission in Delhi after they were outed as suspected spies by India.It later leaked to the press the names and photos of eight alleged Indian spies working from India’s mission in Islamabad.But executions for spying are rare.In 1999, Pakistan hanged Sheikh Shamim 10 years after convicting him of spying.Sarabjit Singh died in prison in Pakistan in 2013 after more than 20 years on death row. Officials said he was attacked by other prisoners.