Medicines management can work and we have proved it
We refer to Dr Alex Muir's letter 'Medicines management project not worth £30m' (January 20).
Shropshire County PCT has five practices involved in the second wave of the medicines management collaborative. The project has enabled practice staff, doctors and pharmacists to meet regularly to discuss prescribing in the broadest sense. Mini audit cycles have been used to identify areas of inefficiency and to test alternative ways of working. Changes in working practice have then been made.
These changes were often small, for example mapping the journey of a prescription in order to decrease the number of times it was handled.
Two of our practices piloted 'virtual medication' reviews. A doctor and a pharmacist reviewed 80 over-65s on four or more medications to make an assessment of the appropriateness of their current medication, to ensure that monitoring is performed if required and identify any possible drug reactions. We have found 4 per cent of patients need to be seen in a face-to-face consultation. Cost savings identified from reviewing these patients amounted to £7,400.
The practices in the project are now going to go through the same process with pharmacists employed using medicine management services money. The PCT has been supportive with future funding as cost savings have been identified.
We feel pharmacists should have input in every primary health care team.
With our local PCT's support we are planning to develop greater pharmacy involvement across the PCT. These changes have come about because of medicine management services.
Dr Rachel Palmer
Dr Pam Yule
Dr Sal Riding