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Published on 14 August 2014

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RPS calls for expansion of the New Medicine Service

Following a positive independent academic evaluation of the New Medicine Service, Dr David Branford, Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English Board, has called for inclusion of a wider cohort of patients to allow more people with newly diagnosed long-term conditions to benefit. 

Following a positive independent academic evaluation of the New Medicine Service, Dr David Branford, Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) English Board, has called for inclusion of a wider cohort of patients to allow more people with newly diagnosed long-term conditions to benefit. 

The RPS concurs with the recommendations in the report that point to how an even more effective service could be delivered, namely:

  •  Better engagement with GPs.
  • Pharmacists having access to GP records.
  •  Improved training of pharmacists.

Responding to the publication, Dr Branford said: “The NHS is constantly challenged to provide evidence of the effectiveness of interventions; here we have a rigorous and thorough piece of work that leaves me in no doubt that this service is benefitting patients through improved use of medicines as well as saving money through fewer hospital admissions.

“NHS England must now allow more people to benefit from this service. I would suggest that people with depression and dementia would be a wise place to start a wider roll out of the New Medicine Service to patients.   

“I believe community pharmacists can do even more for patients and the RPS is working on a number of fronts to allow this to happen.

“The RPS has consistently campaigned for wider access to patient records by pharmacists and we are pleased the first pilots allowing summary care record access are going ahead soon. However, I know full patient benefits are only seen through full “read and write” access to the record, which is our ultimate aim.

“The RPS itself is opening up support through mentoring to provide a feedback pathway for practitioners to improve their practice through the Faculty and new Foundation programme.

“We are keen to improve the relationships between GP Practices and pharmacists, and are looking at how our work with RCGP can further improve relationships locally.

“There are also some findings that the profession must not shy away from. The report talks about pharmacists having variable experiences of providing the New Medicines Service, stating that ability to provide was ‘influenced by availability of staff such as accredited checking technicians and resources such as information and communication technologies.’

“In my view, if you haven’t got enough support staff or the right IT, then the pharmacist’s ability to deliver excellent care is compromised. In our ‘Community Pharmacy Call to Action’ response we said NHS England must provide the right environment in every pharmacy so pharmacists can deliver a fantastic service to patients.”



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