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Urgent and emergency care

NHS guidance on progressive neurological conditions calls for more input from specialist pharmacists

Including specialist pharmacists in multidisciplinary care teams (MDTs) for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and multiple sclerosis (MS) could help to avoid up to 2,500 emergency admissions to hospital each year, according to NHS England.

Guidance for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) — NHS RightCare Progressive Neurological Conditions Toolkit — was developed with seven charities for patients with brain and nerve conditions, and aims to help CCGs deliver more coordinated care and greater access to specialists.

Among its recommendations, the toolkit advises that MDTs working across primary and secondary care include pharmacists with a special interest in PD to support the team in caring for patients with more complex needs and improve patient outcomes.

According to a statement from NHS England, implementing the guidance would save £10m per year as a result of 2,500 fewer emergency hospital admissions for patients who have MS, motor neurone disease or PD

The toolkit also recommends that pharmacists working in primary care networks review the medicines taken by patients with PD every three months during enhanced structured medication reviews, which were announced in the ‘Community pharmacy contract framework’ in July 2019.

The guidance added that neurospecialist pharmacists and pharmacy technicians should “be playing a greater role within the [disease modifying drugs] pathway” in patients with MS.

In addition to being experts in “all aspects of medication management”, the guidance said these pharmacists also “typically have cross-cover arrangements within their departments to allow for absences, which small MS teams may not, and they can spread learning and innovation from other specialties”.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206965

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