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Discharge reviews granted eleventh-hour extension in Wales

Practice Welsh pharmacists will continue to provide discharge medicines reviews to patients discharged from hospital, after the government announced it was extending the £3.6m service for another year.

Welsh pharmacists will continue to provide discharge medicines reviews (DMR) to patients discharged from hospital after the government announced it was extending the service at the eleventh hour.


The £3.6 million service, which was launched in November 2011 to help patients leaving hospital or other care settings, was due to end in March.


Chief pharmaceutical officer for Wales Professor Roger Walker signed the extension at the end of last month on behalf of health minister Mark Drakeford, allowing the service to continue until June next year. An evaluation of DMRs is due to get underway soon.


Discharge medicines reviews are designed to help improve the transfer of medicines information between secondary and primary care and improve medicines adherence

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The two-part intervention service is designed to help improve the transfer of medicines information between secondary and primary care and improve medicines adherence. Consultations are carried out face-to-face or over the phone and relatives or carers can also hand over discharge letters to pharmacists on patients' behalf.


However, pharmacists reported teething problems in getting discharge information from hospitals, with no uniform way of obtaining the service across Wales, Community Pharmacy Wales said this week.


CPW spokeswoman Mari James told C+D that different hospitals had different arrangements for providing discharge letters, while some hospital did not even provide letters.


"I think they [pharmacists] have probably found it very valuable from the point of view of patients and being able to interface between secondary and primary care, but it has been a challenging and frustrating period to set up an innovative service."


GPs also reported problems in obtaining discharge letters from hospitals, she said.  


The service has been funded from category M clawbacks, with up to £3.6m invested per year in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Pharmacies that initiated 10 DMR interventions in 2011-12 received an implementation payment of £1,400.


What difference has the DMR made to your patients' care?

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