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MUR fees could be reviewed as part of efficiency drive

NHS England says it is "possible" its upcoming community pharmacy review will look at funding for MURs and NMS


NHS England has not ruled out reviewing funding for medicines use reviews (MURs) as part of a wide-ranging assessment of the "value” of community pharmacy services, C+D has learned.

The review, due to start later this month, was requested by England's chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge to advise him on how clinical services can be “modernised” to ensure pharmacy meets the “changing shape and demands of healthcare”, NHS England said. 

The contractual framework, and all clinical pharmacy services commissioned by NHS England, are up for review (see below).

The commissioning body told C+D yesterday (May 4) that it is "possible" that this will include looking at how these services are funded, but stressed that it is "too early to say" and that no decisions had been made. 

"Value for the taxpayer"

The review is intended to ensure that community pharmacy commissioning models "deliver good patient outcomes and optimal value for money for the taxpayer", NHS England said in the review's terms of reference.

The independent review will be led by Richard Murray, director of policy for the think-tank the King’s Fund. Recommendations from the review are expected in October, and will be consulted on before Dr Ridge makes a decision on which proposals should be implemented.

The impetus for the review comes from NHS England's Five Year Forward View document, and the need to make the NHS “sustainable and better”, the commissioning body said. Pharmacy should see itself as “no exception” to this wider policy drive, it added.

Dr Ridge said the review will provide an “additional source of information on how clinical services provided by pharmacy teams could be redesigned,” and is part of “broader action to help modernise NHS pharmacy services".

Separate to funding cut consultation

The review is separate, but will run alongside, NHS England and the Department of Health's consultation on the planned 6% funding cut in England, NHS England told C+D.

Last month, Pharmacy Voice warned that the Guardian's allegations about the abuse of MURs for profit had done “significant harm” to the reputation of the sector, and could undermine the sector's argument against the planned cuts. 

Which services could be up for review?

  • Medicines use reviews (MURs)
  • Prescription intervention service
  • New medicine service (NMS)
  • Appliance use reviews (AURs)
  • Stoma appliance customisation service
  • Minor ailments services
  • Palliative care services
  • Care home services
  • Headlice management services
  • Gluten-free food supply services


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