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The 'sick day rules' project

We wish to support the roll out of the “medicines sick day rules” card initiative by NHS Highland, which was featured in The Pharmaceutical Journal (2015;295;4). We are pleased to have the opportunity to build upon this important medicines optimisation project south of the border by launching a collaborative study involving NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) Greater Manchester.

In March 2015, we initiated the roll out of the “sick day rules” card in 48 GP practices and 60 community pharmacies across Salford. In August 2015, we saw the start of a facilitated implementation of various kidney health initiatives by GP practice-based pharmacists in half of the GP practices. There is a real need to develop an evidence base to support the objectives of the NHS England Think Kidneys campaign. Therefore, we are also undertaking an evaluation where we will explore the uptake and use of these cards and associated kidney initiatives via GPs, and community and practice-based pharmacists. We will carry out a qualitative evaluation using structured interviews and this will be supported by a quantitative exploration of the potential health economic impact of this intervention in at-risk patients. The report is due in spring 2016. It is hoped that this will provide a platform for further large-scale evaluation.

The project will work across secondary care, general practice, community pharmacies, medicines optimisation and other parts of the NHS. The successful utilisation of GP practice-based clinical pharmacists to provide support to primary care aligns well with NHS England’s recent announcement of the £15m pilot scheme to introduce an additional 250 posts over the next three years, and NHS Scotland’s similar announcement in June 2015 to invest £16.2m over three years to recruit additional pharmacists to work directly with GP practices. This is a representative example of the interprofessional research supported by the NIHR, which provides training and funding resources for healthcare improvement projects.

More information about the “sick day rules” project can be found on the NIHR CLAHRC Greater Manchester website at, or alternatively contact Rachel Airley, CRN-GM community pharmacy research champion, at

Rachel Airley

Sheila McCorkindale

Susan Howard

On behalf of the Salford Sick Day Rules Project Steering Group and NHS Highland



Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20069316

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