LloydsPharmacy agrees that NMS should be made a permanent service

Comment by Steve Howard, Superintendent at LloydsPharmacy

The University of Nottingham have recently published its evaluation of the new medicine service (NMS), which revealed that patients were 10 percent more likely to adhere to their medicines if they received an NMS consultation. It also helped to reduce contact between those patients and their GPs and hospitals, and achieved savings of £21 per person, even after the cost of the NMS consultation had been removed.

NMS has been offered to patients with new medicines for asthma, COPD, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or if taking anticoagulants, since October 2011, aiming to promote medicine adherence. It has been extended on a temporary basis a number of times but the report concluded that for the service to develop further it needed to be fully integrated into local primary care services.

At LloydsPharmacy, we believe this service to be a benefit to a vast number of people. Our pharmacists and their teams interact with patients in their local communities every day, they already provide health and wellbeing benefits through smoking cessation programmes and Type 2 diabetes testing, and are able to engage with patients about the benefits of medical adherence.

We have found NMS to be a great way of initially talking to patients about their medicines and then extending this to assess lifestyle risk factors and discuss other areas of their health through the follow-up appointments and conversations.

NMS is another example of how community pharmacy can alleviate pressures on the NHS. It has been reported for many years that NHS budgets are over-stretched, and as the evaluation determined NMS has already saved the NHS money, if this service was extended and further developed there is a potential to save more money and resource, whilst improving the health of patients through community pharmacy services.

Results from the NMS evaluation support the conclusion of the cross-sector report, We Are Primary Care, as GPs and community pharmacies are working together to improve health and wellbeing in the community.

LloydsPharmacy is able to provide patients with the advice and help they need when taking new medicines. This frees up time for the GP and ensures the patient feels confident and has all the information they need to manage their own medicines, preventing them from re-visiting their GP or falling ill again. Community pharmacy is well equipped to offer the support required to ensure medicine adherence is promoted to all patients.