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NHS England takes aim at medicines optimisation

New dashboard to support patients' medicine use has pharma support

NHS England launches medicines optimisation dashboardNHS England has launched a new tool to encourages CGCs and trusts to think more about how well their patients are supported to use medicine and less about the cost and volume of drugs.

The prototype medicines optimisation dashboard brings together data in one place and includes hospital admission data and patient experience indicators. It also looks at areas such as medication safety and utilisation of community pharmacy services.

“Medicines optimisation is about ensuring that the right patients get the right choice of medicine, at the right time,” said Clare Howard, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer for NHS England.

“It is important for the patient, the prescriber, the NHS and the taxpayer that the patient derives the greatest benefit that medicines have to offer.”

News of the dashboard was welcomed by the pharma industry and Carol Blount, NHS partnership director for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said that it was “a step in the right direction”. 

“We fully support NHS England's shift in focus from looking solely at the spend on medicines in isolation towards the value of medicines and having a better understanding of medicines and the outcomes derived from using them,” she said.  

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society also welcomed the launch. Elizabeth Butterfield, member of the Medicines Optimisation Measurement Group and the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said: “This new set of metrics will help local health economies measure the true value of medicines use in their area and allow useful comparison with others.”

She stressed, however, that medicines optimisation should not be seen only as the business of commissioners, but as a new focus for all health professionals. 

The National Pharmacy Association added that the launch was also important to pharmacists because of the likelihood that it would highlight improvements that could be made on a local basis. 

Medicines optimisation is not new, but it is becoming increasingly important, with current research suggesting that just 16 per cent of patients in the UK who are prescribed a new medicine take it as prescribed, experience no problems and receive as much information as they need.

Several recent initiatives have attempted to improve the situation, including a Pfizer-funded scratch-card scheme launched by the Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire group. Pfizer also extended its own UK medicines optimisation campaign in November, having initially launched it in 2012.

13th June 2014

From: Healthcare

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