A group of researchers from the Universities of Manchester, Nottingham and UCL have been evaluating the benefits of a pharmacy service, known as New Medicine Service (NMS).
NMS was delivered by pharmacists in 2011 and provides support for patients who are prescribed medicines to treat long term conditions. As part of the scheme, pharmacists will follow up patients with a telephone call after 7 to 14 days, and then again after 2-3 weeks.
During the early stages of setting up the scheme, a team of pharmacists, GPs, patients, policymakers, health economists and health service researchers ran a trial with 504 people in 46 pharmacies.
The results showed that NMS delivered better patient outcomes with 11% more patients adhering to their medication regimen after a few weeks of using this service.
Since NMS was established, over 12,000 pharmacies have delivered 5.7 million consultations between 2011 and 2018. The findings from the evaluation were positive, with researchers concluding that as the NMS delivered better patient outcomes, the overall costs to the NHS were reduced. The team have concluded that the English NMS has saved around £651 million since NMS was set up.
Lead researcher from University of Manchester Professor Rachel Elliott said: ‘The New Medicine Service has proved to be a simple, deliverable intervention which helps patients and saves the NHS money.’
Professor Elliot feels that with the positive results from the NMS, reviewing medicines -taking, for example every six months, is needed to help improve medicines adherence.
Dr Boyd, Co-project lead from University of Nottingham said: ‘The way patients access healthcare is changing. This work highlights the valuable contribution pharmacists make in protecting valuable NHS budget and improving outcomes for patients.’