Pharmacy service could save NHS £651 million

A number of university researchers have evaluated a service delivered by pharmacists since 2011 and calculated that it will save the NHS approximately £651 million.

A research team from the Universities of Manchester, Nottingham, and UCL claim that the pharmacy service will allow patients to enjoy up to 278,700 more quality adjusted life years, a long term measure of disease burden used by health economists.

Since the inception of the New Medicine Service (NMS), the team say community pharmacists in over 12,000 pharmacies have delivered 5.7 million consultations between 2011 and 2018. The service works with patients who are prescribed medicines for asthma and COPD, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or are taking anticoagulant therapies such as warfarin, and aims to support people taking a new medicine prescribed by their doctor.

Rachel Elliott, lead researcher from The University of Manchester, said: “The New Medicine Service has proved to be a simple, deliverable intervention which helps patients and saves the NHS money. The NMS workload had been absorbed into busy community pharmacists’ daily routines alongside existing responsibilities with no extra resources or evidence of reduction in other responsibilities.

“It’s not always easy for doctors to determine if their patients are sticking to their drugs regimen. As health care professionals, we sometimes underestimate the problems patients face around their medicines. Patients often decide to stop taking their pills when they see no difference in their symptoms, experience side effects, have found information from other sources such as the internet, or can’t afford prescription charges.”

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