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Homecare services

Homecare medicines services can be delivered in standardised way with new resource

The first ever handbook to help pharmacists deliver best practice in homecare medicines services, which are used by around 200,000 patients in England, is being launched tomorrow (7 May 2014).

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society published the “Handbook for Homecare Services in England” to aid the implementation of its “Professional Standards for Homecare Services” which were published last September.

The document considers the patient experience, good governance arrangements and implementing safe and effective homecare services, which in 2011 was estimated to have a £1 billion market in England.

“This handbook is really important because homecare services have been growing in volume over the past years without the benefit of having standards to guide that development,” said pharmacist Dr Carol McCall, an advisor and consultant in homecare governance who contributed to the book.

“It provides detailed guidance about how to implement the RPS standards so that they can be delivered in a more standardised way to promote efficiency and high quality standards across the country,” she added.

Catherine Duggan, director of professional development and support at the RPS, said: “By sharing best practice through the Handbook for Homecare Services in England we hope that when patients choose to be treated at home, rather than hospital, this care is of high quality and safe.”

The handbook is aimed at NHS trust chief pharmacists but would be useful to the wider audience involved in homecare services such as commissioners, homecare providers and industry. It follows the recommendations of the “Homecare Medicines – Towards a Vision for the Future” report published by the Department of Health in 2011 following its review of homecare services.

The handbook will be regularly updated by a RPS homecare steering group which is being set up. The steering group will co-ordinate its work with other organisations including the Department of Health’s National Homecare Medicines Committee and the National Clinical Homecare Association, the trade association for companies involved in homecare services.


Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138141

Readers' comments (1)

  • The standards and handbook are comprehensive and fair in the obligations placed on both sides of the homecare medicines supply arrangement. In particular, many Trusts should take note of the requirements for good prescription governance on their side; initial Trust side clinical check and pharmacy procurement purchase order. From my experience, there are still many Trusts that do not implement these basics for many of their Homecare medicines services - some appear not to have any pharmacy oversight for implemented services at all. The level of received prescriptions that do not comply with the relevant legislation and require query or re-prescription can be quite high as a consequence.

    The standards and handbook therefore provide a useful basis for self-audit for existing services and an implementation tool for new services, and should be welcomed.

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