As of this week (September 1), MURs, new medicine service (NMS) consultations and appliance use reviews (AURs) can be carried out remotely – where clinically appropriate and subject to patient consent.
This follows amendments to the Pharmaceutical Services (Advanced and Enhanced Services and Emergency Declaration) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Directions 2020.
Other amendments to the directions allow pharmacists to carry out MURs, NMSs and AURs, as well as the flu vaccination service, without being required to obtain written consent from patients.
This comes after “a proposal to move to a verbal consent model made by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC)”, the negotiator said in a statement earlier this week (September 1).
Pharmacists offering NMSs and AURs must ensure the consultation takes place “in an environment where the conversation cannot be overheard by others”, according to the declaration.
Safety during COVID-19
Commenting on the amendments, PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton told C+D yesterday (September 3) that “the changes are of particular importance during the ongoing pandemic, but they will be a better way of undertaking aspects of the services for pharmacy teams and so they will have enduring utility to them”.
Sadik Al-Hassan, manager of the Well Pharmacy in Kingswood, Bristol, believes there will “always be a value to face-to-face consultations”, he told C+D earlier this week (September 2).
However, “during this pandemic other means of consultations should be used where appropriate. The changes in consent also support some practical steps during the pandemic to reduce infection risk,” he added.
Gurinder Singh, pharmacist and lecturer in pharmacy practice at the University of Reading, told C+D yesterday (September 3) that during the pandemic, the thought of “going into a small consultation room where often you are sat very close to the patient and there’s no air ventilation” has been “really worrying” for pharmacists.
He feels the amendments announced earlier this week bring “community pharmacists in line with GP pharmacists”.
“Community pharmacists have the expertise and now they have been given the tools to go out and provide MURs and NMSs to all patients. When a change like this happens on the back of feedback, the sector feels valued,” he added.