AHSN Network national programme from April 2018-March 2020

Community pharmacist support for patients leaving hospital

When some patients leave hospital they can need extra support taking their prescribed medicines. This may be because their medicines have changed or they need a bit of help taking their medicines safely and effectively.

The transfer of care process is associated with an increased risk of adverse effects. 30-70% of patients experience unintentional changes to their treatment or an error is made because of a miscommunication.

This is what the Transfers of Care Around Medicine (TCAM) project aimed to address.

When patients discharged from hospital are identified as needing extra support, they are referred through a safe and secure digital platform for advice from their local community pharmacist.

Original work in the North East showed that patients who see their community pharmacist after they’ve been in hospital are less likely to be readmitted and, if they are, will experience a shorter stay.

Many AHSNs, including Wessex and the West of England, worked with trusts and Local Pharmaceutical Committees to help set up a secure electronic interface between the hospital IT systems and PharmOutcomes, the community pharmacy system used in their area. This enhanced TCAM by providing patient data quickly and seamlessly to their community pharmacist.

Wessex AHSN developed an awareness campaign to encourage people to seek help with their medicines, featuring a character called Mo in a series of animated films and accompanying poster resources for pharmacies. The films have been viewed almost 64,000 times.

Through our national implementation of TCAM in 2018-2020, each AHSN supported their local trusts to establish a TCAM pathway. This helped to enable all suitable patients to be referred to their community pharmacy or GP pharmacist where appropriate.

In February 2021, the NHS Discharge Medicines Service (DMS) was introduced as a national, essential service for community pharmacies in England. TCAM was recognised as supporting DMS by providing the learning around how to set up these services as well as providing a digital platform for trusts to communicate with a patient’s usual community pharmacy about changes to their medication when they leave hospital. Through our successful roll out of TCAM, the AHSNs have created a foundation for embedding the national DMS service.

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