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Optimising StruCtured medicAtion Reviews (OSCAR)

National ARC Projects 

Optimising StruCtured medicAtion Reviews (OSCAR): A Mixed methods process evaluation with integrated real-time observational cohort study

Lead: NIHR ARC Oxford and Thames Valley

Why the research is needed?

Structured medication reviews are where a pharmacist/GP meets face-to-face (or remotely) with a patient and goes through ALL of their medication in one session. These are being introduced in the NHS across England and while they seem sensible, little is known about how they work and what they achieve. They aim to particularly target people with several different medical conditions (called multimorbidity) and/or people on many different medications (called polypharmacy) and/or people who are particularly frail and/or people in care homes.

What we will do?

GP surgeries across England will be recruited (at least 70), and information collected in two different ways: first, by using anonymous information from the practice computer systems about who has a structured medication review, what happens during the review and what the result is. We will concentrate on prescribing decisions targeted by the NHS Primary Care Network Contract.

We will also observe what actually happens during a sample of these structured medication reviews with a diverse group of patients (and their caregivers) registered in different GP surgeries. We will ask some of the people whose reviews we have observed, as well as the practice staff looking after them, to share their perspectives, and to tell us more about their experiences.

What will be achieved?

Both kinds of information will be combined to increase our understanding of structured medication reviews. By a process of randomised feedback to practices through dashboards towards the end of the project we will try to see if this strategy improves the quality of reviews. We will use information gathered to feedback to the NHS aiming to influence future health policy.

When the findings will be available? 

October 2023

Collaborating ARCs:

  • NIHR ARC Yorkshire and Humber
  • NIHR ARC East of England
  • NIHR ARC West
  • NIHR ARC South West
  • NIHR ARC North West
  • NIHR ARC East Midlands

Contribution to National Priority Aims:

Cross-regional implementation of an intervention with evidenced potential to reduce the burden of multiple long-term conditions (multimorbidity).

Contact: Professor Richard McManus,