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New Medicine Service saves NHS £517 million in long term claims report

By Neil Trainis

PUBLISHED: September 4, 2017 | UPDATED: September 4, 2017

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The New Medicine Service (NMS) generates long-term savings of £517.6 million for the NHS and improves patients’ adherence to their medicines by 10% according to a study funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme.

The evaluation carried out by the universities of Manchester and Nottingham and University College London examined the impact of non-adherence for medicines treating conditions under the NMS such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.

Researchers concluded the NMS “increased patient medicine adherence compared with normal practice which translated into increased health gain at reduced overall cost.” They also found the NMS generates short-term NHS cost savings of £75.4 million.

Over 3.5 million consultations were claimed on the NMS between its introduction to the community pharmacy contractual framework in October 2011 and the end of August 2016. Over 820,000 were claimed in 2015-16.

“This economic evaluation suggests that NMS will deliver better patient outcomes than normal practice at overall reduced costs to the NHS in the long term. In the short term, extra costs incurred by remunerating community pharmacists were absorbed by small reductions in other NHS contact-related costs,” the study said.

Sue Sharpe, chief executive of the PSNC, said: “The New Medicine Service is provided by community pharmacists in pharmacies across the country. Pharmacists recognise that helping patients when they first receive a prescription for a new medicine can be pivotal to ensuring that they get the best possible outcomes.

“With the current pressures on the NHS it is vital to use community pharmacists to help support GPs and other parts of the health care system, using their expertise in medicines and the relationship they have with their patients.

“Many people, particularly as they get older, depend on medicines to keep them well, and we are committed to developing community pharmacy’s support for them.”