The risks of poor medication management

risk of poor medication management

Health and social care organisations must invest in professional medication management to protect patients from serious illness or fatality.

All health and social care staff involved with patient medication should receive suitable training to ensure patient safety and optimise the effectiveness of the medication they are administering.

This applies to a variety of healthcare settings including doctor surgeries, hospitals, pharmacies, care homes, community care settings, and social care settings.

Medication management training is important for any staff who prescribes, administers, or handles any sort of patient medication.

You may be shocked to find out how many people die due to poor medication management in the UK each year. A study carried out by researchers at the University of Manchester estimated that 237 million medication errors are made each year and avoidable medication errors cost 1,700 lives.

In this article, we will find out a little more about what safe medication management involves and the risks of failing to provide this.

What is safe medication management?

Safe medication management involves more than knowing the right medicines to give people and how frequently to administer them (although this is very important!) It also involves storing medicines safely, disposing of medicines appropriately, and keeping up with medication admin and record-keeping according to the relevant healthcare rules and regulations.

The Royal College of Nursing defines medication management as “the clinical, cost-effective and safe use of medicines to ensure patients get the maximum benefit from the medicines they need, while at the same time minimising potential harm.”

To perform excellent medication management, health and social care organisations should ensure that staff receive high-quality medication management training and then establish systems and processes to manage patient medication. One or more people should be made accountable for overseeing that these systems and processes are being used and remain effective.

Read our article why is medication management important? To find out more about the benefits of professional medication management.

What are the risks of poor medication management?

Organisations that fail to invest the money and time required to improve and maintain good medication management in the workplace are risking the safety of their patients.

It’s not just the patients that are being put at risk either, poor medication management can have a far-reaching effect on the success of the organisation and the wellbeing of its employees too.

Let’s find out a little more about the risks of poor medication management.


By far, the most serious and worrying implication of poor medication management is that it puts patients’ lives at risk, particularly the most vulnerable patients.

The elderly, terminally ill, and those with complex health requirements are particularly at risk of having their lives cut short by an organisation’s failure to take medication management seriously.

If mistakes are made with patient medication, or safe processes and procedures are not followed, there is a risk that it could result in the death of a patient.

Serious illness

Sometimes, errors with patient medication may not result in death, but they could still cause serious side effects or illness, resulting in long-term consequences or complications for the patient.

Poor patient experience

Being unwell and putting your health into the hands of health or social care workers can be scary. All patients just want to feel better as quickly as possible and trust the healthcare workers around them to know what is best for them and provide them with the best treatment possible.

Without proper medication management in place, organisations risk providing patients with a poor experience and causing inefficiencies in their treatment or recovery.

Professional medication management provides patients with targeted care and carefully monitors both medication and patient health, allowing healthcare staff to quickly respond to any changes to ensure that patients are always getting the best results possible from their medication.

Failure to offer a good patient experience could result in a poor reputation for your organisation and cause patients and the public to lose trust in its healthcare services.


Regulations that appear in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 require health and social care providers to ensure that medicines are supplied in sufficient quantities, managed safely, and administered appropriately to make sure that people are safe.

If a serious mistake is made with patient medication, particularly if it results in a fatality or long-term consequences to the patient’s health, then the healthcare organisation responsible may face prosecution for failure to provide safe care and causing avoidable harm to a patient.

Staff performance, development, and job satisfaction

Usually, in the eyes of the law, medication errors are the responsibility of the person who has prescribed, signed off, or administered them. Poor medication procedures, processes, and training can put medical professionals at risk of making errors.

Nobody likes to make mistakes, particularly not at work when the stakes are as high as they are in healthcare. Organisations that practice poor medication management are failing their staff, who may struggle to perform to the best of their ability or develop within their role without the right procedures and processes in place to help them to do so. It will also be easier for staff to make mistakes, leading staff to become disheartened, doubt their abilities, or even face prosecution.


Mistakes with medication and ineffective medication management can also cause unnecessary expenses for health and social care organisations.

Some of the ways that poor medication management can cost healthcare organisations include:

  • Excessive pharmaceutical costs.
  • Patients being readmitted to hospital due to medication mistakes.
  • Patients needing longer courses of medication because of inefficiencies in medication management.
  • Patients needing medical treatment due to medication errors.
  • Patients admitted to A&E due to medication errors.
  • Legal costs and fines due to prosecution for errors with medications.

Effective medication management improves the health of patients and the time it takes for them to recover, which in turn, helps to improve an organisation’s cost efficiency.

Medication management training

Here at Care Business Associate Training, we run a popular one-day Medication Management training course that helps healthcare organisations to avoid the risks associated with poor medication management.

Our training sessions provide health and social care staff with all the information and skills they require to manage patient medication safely and competently.

For more information about our Medication Management training course, give our team a call today on 01772 816 922, send an email to, or book online to secure your place.