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PSNC: scrapping the NMS would be a mistake

Services Cutting the NMS would be detrimental to the government’s drive to improve medicines adherence, PSNC has said, as pharmacists warned the service could be an easy target for NHS cuts.

Scrapping the new medicine service (NMS) would be detrimental to the government's drive to improve medicines adherence, PSNC has said, as pharmacists warned the service could be an easy target for NHS cuts.

PSNC expected the Department of Health (DH) to recommission the NMS next year, after figures released last week showed the service was helping patients take their medicines properly, contractor and chair of the PSNC service development subcommittee Gary Warner said.

The figures, collected through PSNC's PharmOutcomes, covered NMS interventions to more than 224,000 patients from the service's launch on October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012. It revealed that 32 per cent of non-adherent patients became more adherent to their medication following NMS interventions.

"To withdraw it might be detrimental to the work that we're doing with the DH in terms of improving adherence and reducing waste" Gary Warner, PSNC

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Mr Warner said the final decision on the NMS's future would be confirmed following the evaluation by Nottingham University research group to be published next year, but he hoped the latest figures showed the service was "not only valuable but invaluable".

"To withdraw it might be detrimental to the work that we're doing with the DH in terms of improving adherence and reducing waste," Mr Warner said.

But community pharmacist Clive Hodgson said he could see "certain people in the DH seeing [the decommissioning of NMS] as an attractive option".

"It's all down to funding. Let's put it this way, if NMS was cancelled tomorrow due to the money saved, I think you've got to ask yourself: how much would patients lose? I think only a bit," he said.

And community pharmacist Hassan Argomandkhah told C+D the NMS was "designed to fail from the beginning".

"The DH wanted to take money out of pharmacy and didn't want to put it back in properly," Mr Argomandkhah said. "I don't think the service as it's designed is supporting patients because there is a lot of duplication."

However, Mr Warner praised contractors, whose engagement with the NMS he called "phenomenal".

"They've engaged with it, they've delivered it, and I think what's really key for me is talking to pharmacists that are delivering it, [you get] a really positive sense that they're doing something positive for patients."


Do you think the NMS should survive DH funding cuts?

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3 Comments

Paul Gunson, Locum pharmacist

NMS, nice idea but poorly executed. NMS is not really about patient care for many companies it's just another way of making money (albeit this money and more was stripped from the profession) and its another tool being used by companies to penalise pharmacists when targets aren't met (prior to many of the cost cutting measures in community, financial incentives were provided upon completion of NMS along with MURs, now if they're not completed the pharmacists wage is reduced)

Perhaps community pharmacy is not the best place to offer the NMS idea. As previously stated it was a good idea that was poorly executed, perhaps a more appropriate role would be for practice pharmacists to provide the service? I know practice pharmacists aren't in every practice and not full time either but perhaps there is scope for every surgery to have a practice pharmacist in place? In an ideal world at least a part time practice pharmacist who could provide this service on top of the other servcies they provide? I know, however, that it's all about money, the government won't pay for practice pharmacists in all GPs surgeries, GPs won't want to pay for them, community pharmacy owners and companies wouldn't want to lose the money from NMS.

Guess thats a sign of the times we're in!

Alchemist 1948, Locum pharmacist

Clearly you have all missed the point, the government are fully aware that a significant amount of the huge sum of money spent of medicines for patients not only gets wasted but through this wastage increases NHS costs due to innappropriate and avoidable hospital admissions. The ideal person to deal with the introduction of a new medicine is the Community Pharmacist, we know our patients and we see them regularly. It is a win win win situation, patients get the benefit of dedicated Community Pharmacist input into their healthcare along with the opportunist healthy living advice, the Government (and taxpayer!!) benefit from less hospital adnmissions and Community Pharmacy gets paid for what we do best ... TALK TO PATIENTS ABOUT THEIR MEDICINES

mohammed nadeem sadiq, Pre-reg Pharmacist

I think argomandkhan is absolutely correct about this matter.If adequate funding is not provided to support pharmacist,then it will not be too long when pharmacy as a profession will become a declining profession.

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