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‘Our independent family-owned pharmacy members are not going to abandon dosette boxes’

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The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMP)’s members are not going to abandon the dosettes boxes, the association has announced. Instead, it insisted that this service should be properly funded.

The association has emphasised on the importance of the service provided by pharmacists to elderly patients living independently.

Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of AIMP, said it was vital that patients for whom this service is suitable can continue accessing it and that it is properly funded.

Blister pack trays or dosettes assist thousands of people across the UK in living independently and remaining in their own homes for longer.

“This is largely attributable to the care and professionalism shown by local pharmacies,” said Hannbeck.

“Our members, as independent family-owned pharmacies, are not going to abandon this service for patients.”

Dosettes help patients who are struggling to take their medication – for example because they are unable to manage multiple medicines. They can maintain their independence and avoid the need for carers, safe in the knowledge they are taking the right medicines, in the right quantities at the right times.

The association said that putting together these packs is time-consuming and costly for community pharmacies and is not separately remunerated.

“The local care commissioners are switching prescriptions from weekly, which is required for dosette boxes, to monthly and two months in an attempt to save costs which is a false economy. This lack of funding is exacerbated by the current workforce challenges faced by many community pharmacies.”

Hannbeck said: “We urge local care commissioners to now take this public service more seriously than has been the case, and to listen to our concerns.

“Despite these challenges, AIMP believes that the investment needed to put this right is small compared to the huge gains for patients, families and the wider NHS and social care system.”

Recently, Boots UK had been criticised by some of its patients over non-availability of dosette boxes, as reported by the BBC.

AIMp said that it has sparked anger and frustration among patients, families, carers and healthcare workers who are left with the prospect of managing the administration of medicines themselves.

Significantly, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has also warned against the usage of multi-compartment compliance aids (MCA) arguing that they lack outright patient benefit.

“People can experience a range of barriers to taking their medicines, and multi-compartment compliance aids are often viewed as a solution. However, the limited evidence base suggests a lack of patient benefit outcomes and sometimes they can cause harm,” said RPS.

“MCA is one tool amongst many to help with medicines use but other interventions also exist, which as part of a patient-centred and quality approach, must also be considered.”

Earlier, NHS also said in its guidance, “dosette boxes are not always available for free on the NHS and they’re not suitable for every type of medicine.”

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