Reducing prescriptions for over-the counter medicines

NHS England is launching a public consultation on reducing prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for 33 minor, short-term health concerns.


These prescriptions include items for a condition:

  • That is considered to be self-limiting and so does not need treatment as it will heal of its own accord;
  • Which lends itself to self-care, i.e. that the person suffering does not normally need to seek medical care but may decide to seek help with symptom relief from a local pharmacy and use an over the counter medicine.

Vitamins/minerals and probiotics have also been included in the consultation proposals as items of low clinical effectiveness which are of high cost to the NHS.

NHS England has partnered with NHS Clinical Commissioners to carry out the consultation after CCGs asked for a nationally co-ordinated approach to the development of commissioning guidance in this area to ensure consistency and address unwarranted variation.  The intention is to produce a consistent, national framework for CCGs to use. The consultation closes on the 14 March 2018.

View the full consultation document here


IT intervention to support medicine optimisation in primary care

Jeffries, M. et al. (2017) Understanding the implementation and adoption of an information technology intervention to support medicine optimisation in primary care: qualitative study using strong structuration theory. BMJ Open. 7:e014810


Objectives: Using strong structuration theory, we aimed to understand the adoption and implementation of an electronic clinical audit and feedback tool to support medicine optimisation for patients in primary care.

Conclusions: Successful implementation of information technology interventions for medicine optimisation will depend on a combination of the infrastructure within primary care, social structures embedded in the technology and the conventions, norms and dispositions of those utilising it. Future interventions, using electronic audit and feedback tools to improve medication safety, should consider the complexity of the social and organisational contexts and how internal and external structures can affect the use of the technology in order to support effective implementation.

Read the full article here

Supporting the management of type 2 diabetes with pharmacist-led reviews

Langran, T. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e013451

NHS Framework Document 2008

Objective: Describe and assess the impact of a pharmacist-led patient review programme on the management and control of type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Conclusions: The pharmacist-led review increased the number of key care processes administered and improved diabetic control during the year of programme delivery. The improvement abated during the year after, suggesting that such programmes should be ongoing rather than fixed term. The programme combined the strategic drive and project facilitation skills of Slough CCG, the general practice teams’ knowledge of their patients and the clinical and information technology skills of an experienced pharmacist team.

Read the full article here

Local commissioning of community pharmacy services

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has published Good practice examples: commissioning of community pharmacists outside of the core contract.

medical-1454512_960_720This document contains 13 examples showing community pharmacy services can integrate with the wider primary care and community health system. The examples cover working with GP practice, patients with long term conditions and mental health issues, enhanced out of hours provision, domiciliary care, pharmacists in GP Out of Hours services and support for health and social care integration.

Read the full document here

Medicines management ‘rationalised’ to cut pharma influence

Renaud-Komiya, N. HSJ. Published online: 31st March 2016

  • NHS England plan to create four regional medicines management committees to ‘rationalise’ evaluation and industry’s influence on buying decisions
  • Agency promises more robust measures to force CCGs to disclose gifts and hospitality given to all their staff

NHS England is to create four regional committees to “rationalise” medicines evaluation in an attempt to reduce the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on commissioners’ spending and prescribing decisions.

These committees will ensure that medicines evaluation will be done only once nationally and the work then is then shared across the NHS.

The national body has also outlined proposals to make clinical commissioning groups “promptly” declare gifts and hospitality given to all their staff and produce a publicly available register of these gifts.

Read the full article here