New UK guidance has been published showing how the New Medicine Service (NMS) and post discharge Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) can be used to provide a seamless care pathway for patients who transfer from hospital to the community setting.
It has been developed and published by the NHS Employers organisation and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) working with a hospital and community pharmacy reference group.
Hospitals and community pharmacists are encouraged to use the support tools to formalise how they share information about changes to patients’ prescriptions, helping to ensure that patients get the right medicines and the most value from them when they transfer care, as well as potentially reducing the risk of hospital readmissions.
To support the transfer of care, a national referral form has been developed that can, with patient consent, be used by hospitals and pharmacists to transfer patient information.
The New Medicine Service and targeted Medicines Use Reviews were introduced on 1 October 2011, aiming to enhance patients’ understanding and adherence to medicines.
The following documents were launched alongside the national referral form:
- A patient information leaflet about the benefits of community pharmacy, entitled ‘Leaving hospital? Find out how your local chemist can help’
- A guidance document for community pharmacy about engaging with hospital colleagues, entitled ‘Working with hospital colleagues to support patients discharged from hospital’
- A guidance document for hospital colleagues about engaging with community pharmacy, entitled ‘Community pharmacy services’
“These documents are a practical way to help community pharmacists and hospital colleagues make sure that the patient’s medication regime and any information they are given is consistent during the transfer of care,” said Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at the Department of Health.
“They will help underpin a safe and beneficial approach to MURs and NMS provided to patients post discharge.”
Alastair Buxton, Head of NHS Services at PSNC, added: “Providing seamless care for patients transferring from hospital is a top priority for the NHS, and the NMS and post-discharge MURs allow community pharmacists to support patients with their transition back into the community.
“Provision of the services requires local team working between primary and secondary care, which many LPCs and PCTs are keen to support.
“These resources should assist with local discussions on the services which in turn should help enhance relationships between hospital and community pharmacy colleagues.”