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Community pharmacy

Post-discharge medicines scheme is underutilised, study suggests

A scheme aimed at reducing medication errors after discharge is being underutilised, with 25% of eligible pharmacies claiming for the scheme, and just 0.7% of potential commissions being undertaken.

Only a quarter of community pharmacies are actively checking patients’ medicines after discharge from hospital, the results of a four-year evaluation of a scheme in Wales show.

The Discharge Medicines Review (DMR) scheme has around 700 accredited pharmacy contractors and was introduced in 2011. It is designed to reduce medication errors after discharge, with community pharmacies paid to check patient’s medicines are correctly updated by their GP and provide assistance with adherence.

But researchers from Cardiff University found only 0.7% of potential DMRs commissioned were undertaken over four years and that, on average, 25% of eligible pharmacies claimed for a DMR each month.

In total, 37,505 DMR claims that were submitted from April 2013 to August 2017 were analysed in the study. It found that there was no significant correlation between the number of medicines a patient took and the mean number of discrepancies identified. The most common discrepancies were the medicine was discontinued in community after discharge (31%) and medicines were restarted in the community after discharge (27%).

Study author Karen Hodson, senior lecturer and director MSc in clinical pharmacy and director for non-medical prescribing at Cardiff University, argued that “the value of the [DMR] service is still there because discrepancies are still being identified.” However, she conceded that more work is needed to identify why the service is not more widely used.

The study was presented at the International Pharmaceutical Federation Congress in Glasgow on 4 September 2018.

The 2018 FIP congress in Glasgow, Scotland, brings together pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical scientists from around the world to consider ways of extending the role of pharmacists so that they play a full part in ensuring patients, and health systems, achieve full benefit from the medicines people take.

The theme of the 78th FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is ‘Pharmacy: Transforming outcomes!’.

This is the first time that the FIP World Congress has been held in the UK for nearly 40 years. The last time was in 1979, making this a truly unique learning opportunity for pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists in Great Britain.

UK healthcare company RB is Gold Sponsor of this year’s congress.




Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205406

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