Barnet Hospital has been chosen to take part in a new £2.4 million study to reduce the amount of unnecessary or inappropriate medications prescribed to older patients.

Currently half of the older population are prescribed medicines that may pose safety risks.

The CHARMER (CompreHensive geriAtRician led MEdication Review) study aims to respond to the UK Government’s 2021 National Overprescribing Review which highlights the need to stop unnecessary or inappropriate medicines. 

The largest hospital trial of its kind internationally, CHARMER will involve around 100 hospital doctors and pharmacists across 24 hospitals, including Barnet Hospital, aiming to enhance the care of 20,000 older inpatients. It will focus on “proactive deprescribing” with the aim to empower hospital doctors and pharmacists to identify and discontinue unnecessary or inappropriate medications in those aged 65 or over before they cause harm.

Barnet Hospital is aiming to recruit 1,000 patients to the study over the next 21 months and the study will be led locally by Clifford Lisk, consultant physician in acute medicine and geriatric medicine. 

Currently less than 1% of medicines are stopped during hospital stays. The financial implications of overprescribing are significant – the NHS spends more than £18 billion annually on medications with a yearly increase of around 5%. Reducing this would not only lower the NHS drugs bill substantially, but should also prevent costly hospital readmissions related to medication issues.

Dr Lisk, said: “This is an important study as our aim is to improve the quality of life for older people by ensuring they are only prescribed the medicines that are right for them. A hospital admission is an ideal opportunity for older people to have their medicines reviewed by specialist teams and our doctors and pharmacists will work together to identify and safely stop medicines where the risks outweigh the benefits, with the goal of improving the lives of older people.”

Dr Ameet Bakhai, research and development clinical director for Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital, said: “Being part of the CHARMER study demonstrates how we are seeking to prioritise research for our older patients which is relevant to their care and seeks to improve their lives.”

To learn more about the CHARMER trial, visit