A New Medicine Service guidance has been published by NHS employers and endorsed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society that aims to help hospitals and community pharmacists to formalise how they share patient information. The goal is to facilitate more seamless transfers from the hospital to the home, where patients will receive support for their medicines from their local pharmacists.
This is definitely a step in the right direction, as often clinicians forget what a key role community pharmacy plays in supporting hospital and GP services. Conveniently located in high traffic shopping areas, community pharmacies are easily accessible and frequently visited. For many individuals, the pharmacist is their first point of contact, which is particularly key for patients who manage long term conditions or those just leaving hospital.
2020health is currently providing programme design and evaluation support for the Wells Challenge, a unique year-long programme sponsored by Sainsbury’s that will see ten families across the country with the surname Wells challenged to improve their health by taking advantage of the services available to them at their local Sainsbury’s pharmacy. The project aims to show how community pharmacists can improve public health by providing advice and support in areas such as diet/lifestyle management, smoking cessation, and alcohol. Community pharmacy is a vastly underused resource, and by taking advantage of all of the services that community pharmacists can provide, hospitals and GPs can in turn provide better care and support for their patients.