In a letter sent to locums working for Rowlands in the “Doncaster, Grimsby and Lincoln area” last week – and seen by C+D – locums are “reminded” that “it is a requirement of the company and a condition of booking that you recruit and perform medicines use reviews (MURs) and [the] new medicine service (NMS) when working as a locum for Rowlands pharmacy”.
The area manager who wrote the letter said they were “disappointed to hear that there are a number of locum pharmacists who are not delivering these services on a regular basis”.
A spokesperson for Rowlands told C+D on Friday (August 25) that while this particular letter was not issued nationally, “locums need to know what is expected from them”.
“The letter to locums was intended to reinforce the message that MURs and NMS [consultations] are not optional extras, rather they are core services we need to provide if we are to meet patient and commissioner expectations,” the spokesperson added.
In the letter, the area manager said that every Rowlands branch in the area is set a "target" of completing 10 MURs a week and 15 NMS consultations a month. Locums in the area are “required” to complete two MURs and recruit an unspecified number of patients to the NMS every shift, to “help the branch and area achieve its goals”, the area manager added.
Rowlands told C+D that MUR and NMS targets vary across the country “according to patient need and demand”.
When C+D asked whether locums would face consequences for not meeting the required numbers, Rowlands said: “Targets set out what we think is reasonable and achievable. These are not ‘red lines’, but provide clarity to managers and locums about expected performance and delivery of important patient services.”
“Successfully delivering MURs and NMS is critical to the future of community pharmacy in England. It demonstrates our unique ability and potential to achieve improved patient outcomes," Rowlands said.
"If community pharmacy fails to meet the expectations of NHS England or commissioners, then they will look at alternative providers,” it stressed.
Rowlands said that the purpose of the letter was not only to set out requirements for locum bookings at the multiple, but "why that matters to patients and the NHS".
Read a copy of the letter sent to locums working for Rowlands here.