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House of Lords Public Services Committee launches new inquiry into homecare medicines services

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The House of Lords Public Services Committee will hold the first evidence session of its new inquiry examining the standards of the services which deliver medical supplies and associated care to people in England on Wednesday (14 June).

Representatives from patient groups and speciality medical groups will give evidence to the Committee in the session which will explore the extent of the problems in homecare medicine services; and the impact on patients, clinicians, and the wider NHS. This issue will also be part of the wider scope of the inquiry.

The Committee will aim to bring clarity and to focus on the levers available to the government to ensure the integrity of service delivery.

It will also review how far regulators and other enforcement mechanisms are effective in ensuring good service delivery.

The decision to undertake this inquiry was taken independently by the Committee after shortlisting the topic from a number of proposals for new inquiries which were considered earlier this year. It will be a rapid, short-form inquiry with four evidence sessions and individual stakeholders contacted to provide written evidence.

Baroness Morris of Yardley, Chair of the Public Services Committee, said: “The Government is increasingly focused on how to treat more people out of hospital and look after them in the community. Homecare medicine services could form part of the answer to this, and it is crucial that they – and the system – can be relied upon to give patients the care they need, when they need it.

“We have received feedback that this may not be the case at the moment. There are reports of missed deliveries, delays, and potentially significant health impacts for patients. Our inquiry will seek to examine how far these problems are occurring, and the impact of these problems – both for individuals and the wider NHS.

“The services we will be looking at are private companies, which have a sometimes arms-length relationship with the NHS. We are looking at how they are governed, managed, and how standards are enforced. We will also examine transparency and accountability – someone has to take responsibility for getting this right.”

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