A study by Boots UK and the University of Brighton has found that anticoagulation services provided in community pharmacies deliver “enhanced clinical outcomes” and remove the need for patients to attend hospital outpatient clinics.
An evaluation of the community pharmacy anticoagulation management service between 2009 and 2016 in Brighton and Hove found that 2,000 patients on the programme who needed warfarin monitoring were able to access support in a local pharmacy.
Until recently patients needed to go to hospital outpatient clinics to have blood samples taken to assess their international normalised ratio (INR) readings. The study followed Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision to move the service from secondary care into local community pharmacies.
“Patient outcomes were shown to exceed targets for patients using the service (percentage INR readings in therapeutic range (65.4%) and percentage time in therapeutic range (72.5%), versus targets of 60% and 70% respectively),” Boots said.
“The study also showed high levels of patient satisfaction with the service, with over 98.6% of patients rating the service as good, very good or excellent.”
Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots UK, said: “Anticoagulation management continues to evolve rapidly, and using learnings from studies such as this helps to find opportunities where services can also adapt.
“As a pharmacy-led service, the community setting can increase patient access to professional advice and testing, ultimately leading to improved INR control.
“This study is important in demonstrating the role that community pharmacy has and continues to have in adapting to meet the changing need of patients, and supports the commissioning of key services from primary care settings.”
Samantha Ingram, Boots’ teacher practitioner at the University of Brighton, said: “Anticoagulants are essential for helping prevent blood clots and our collaborative research showed that providing this service at local community pharmacies proved practicable and helpful for patients.”
An NPA spokesperson said: “This study provides further evidence of the potential of community pharmacists and how they can impact patient care.
“Pharmacies are a local lifeline and vital to the health of the nation. Often the first port of call for advice and treatment, local pharmacies are a key part of your neighbourhood health service. Pharmacies provide a range of NHS services, ensure people can get face to face care, and take pressure off GPs and hospitals.
“Overall patients and the public value the convenience of a community pharmacy setting.”