Contractors in England are required to change their SOPs for medicines use reviews (MURs) as of October 1, to reflect a reduction in the patient groups who can be targeted for the service, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced on Friday (September 13).
Of the patients who can receive an MUR, 70% must now fall into one of two categories: those on “high-risk” medicines; and those recently discharged who had changes made to their medicines while they were in hospital, PSNC said.
PSNC announced in July that there would be a reduction in the maximum number of MURs pharmacies can provide, before the service is completely phased out in 2021. The negotiator said at the time that discussions about changing patient target groups were ongoing.
Target groups revoked on October 1 are: patients with respiratory diseases; patients at risk of or diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and patients regularly prescribed at least four medicines.
“Pharmacies won’t meet MUR targets”
Farhat Ahmed, superintendent pharmacist at Washwood Heath Pharmacy in Birmingham, claimed the announcement – which came 18 days before the changes are due to be implemented – has not given contractors enough notice to prepare.
She is also concerned that narrowing the criteria from four patient groups* to two will mean pharmacies will not be able to provide the 250 MURs allowed by March 2020.
Pharmacies will not see many patients being referred from hospital – one of the two remaining patient groups – Ms Ahmed claimed.
PSNC “might as well have just shot MURs out of the water” when they first announced the contract, she said.
PSNC: “Pharmacies can reach their MUR targets”
In response to these claims, PSNC said there are “sufficient numbers” of patients in the new target groups for pharmacies to reach their MUR targets.
“The PSNC committee analysed the number of patients who fit into the different target groups and has determined that there are sufficient numbers for pharmacies to reach their MUR targets,” it told C+D.
*This article was updated on September 17 to clarify there were previously four target patient groups for MURs