By Lilian Anekwe
The Government has introduced changes to the pharmacy contract in an attempt to increase the value of medicines use reviews and ensure they deliver efficiency savings and better outcomes for patients.
The new contract will include new outcome measures designed to ‘bolster the effectiveness’ of the reviews, which have come under frequent attack by GPs and primary care academics.
NHS Employers and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee agreed a new community pharmacy contractual framework last week, with new terms and the introduction of national target patient groups for MURs ‘to ensure they are provided to those who will benefit the most.’
The details of the new contract, due to be implemented after July this year, state: ‘To bolster the effectiveness of MURs we will introduce outcome measures for each target group and measures which will improve post-payment monitoring. These changes will ensure that MURs are delivered to a high quality, and provide greater value for money and benefit to patients.’
Pharmacists are also in line for the introduction of a £110m ‘New Medicine Service’ for people with long-term conditions newly prescribed a medicine to help improve medicines adherence.
NHS Employers said the changes brought the community pharmacy contract in line with the Government’s QIPP agenda, adding ‘We believe that our agreement will lead to improved health outcomes for patients, support better utilisation of resources, and provide value for money for the NHS.
It comes after a major academic evaluation of the impact of incentives across primary care, reported by Pulse in September, concluded delivery of some MURs was ‘bordering on fraudulent’, with pharmacists admitting to being paid for performing ‘perfunctory’ reviews of ‘limited value’.
The Department of Health vowed to act on the damning report. Under GP commissioning, remuneration for pharmaceutical services will be determined by the NHS Commissioning Board, which will determine the amount paid for pharmaceutical services in each financial year.
Pharmacist MUR cash tied to patient outcomes