The community pharmacy discharge medicine review service will continue in Wales after an independent evaluation revealed it benefits patients and can prevent A&E visits.
The service helps people returning home after a stay in hospital by ensuring they are prescribed the right medicines for their illness or injury. The scheme also gives patients an opportunity to ask their pharmacist questions about their medicines and how to take them.
The continuation of the service after June 2014 was dependent on the findings of the independent evaluation. It found a high proportion of the interventions made by pharmacists providing the service (39%), had the potential to prevent people needing to go to A&E departments.
It also found the service is very cost effective, with a suggested three to one return on investment. This is mainly attributed to reductions in hospital admissions, visits to A&E departments and medicine waste.
The discharge medicine review service will now be incorporated into the contractual framework for community pharmacies in Wales.
Welsh Government Health Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I am pleased to receive this positive evaluation and to agree to the continuation of the service.
“However, this is not simply a decision to continue the scheme as before. We will look to build on its success and the findings of the evaluation report will help us to do just that.”
The announcement follows the news the NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) has secured funding of £280,000 through the Welsh Government’s Health Technology and Telecare Fund to set up and run a project to improve communication between community pharmacies and other parts of the NHS.
It will involve developing a secure means of providing electronic discharge advice letters to community pharmacists in two health board areas in Wales. It is hoped the project will support the completion of discharge medicine reviews by pharmacists and reduce medication errors, help patients take their medicines correctly and further improve health outcomes.