Community pharmacists support new medicine service, research suggests

Community pharmacists generally support the new medicine service (NMS) — a service offered to patients with long-term conditions newly prescribed a medicine to improve adherence — because they think it will benefit patients, according to research published in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice
[1]
. But, in practice, the service has had a mixed response from patients and other health professionals.

Pharmacists have found elements of the service’s administration and organisation difficult. Some patients have been reluctant to participate in follow-up telephone consultations while others have welcomed the opportunity to discuss their medicines, the research reveals.

There were also differing levels of engagement with GPs and practice nurses and the number of patient referrals to the service has varied. Pharmacists questioned by the researchers reported improved relationships with their patients, but they also believe there is a need to publicise the NMS to increase uptake.

The research centred around telephone interviews with 14 community pharmacists in West Yorkshire in the summer of 2012. The interviews were conducted 10–11 months after the NMS was introduced in England as part of the community pharmacy contract.

The researchers highlight their findings relating to telephone consultations as important.

“This delivery mode is becoming more common in healthcare provision and many patients chose it for NMS,” they say.

Pharmacists did not report problems in conducting telephone consultations once they had started. However, they found it difficult to schedule follow-ups and to make contact with patients.

“These issues may prove to be teething problems associated with the early months of what, for most pharmacists, were new ways of working,” the researchers conclude. 

References

[1] Lucas B, Blenkinsopp A. Community pharmacists’ experience and perceptions of the New Medicines Service (NMS). International Journal of Pharmacy Practice 2015. doi: 10.1111/ijpp.12180.

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Citation
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 7 March 2015, Vol 294, No 7852;294(7852):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068021