By Ellie Broughton
GPs may face an increased volume of referrals from pharmacists after the Government revealed they will be paid to review patients with certain long-term conditions taking new medicines, in an extension to medicines use reviews.
The £55 million a year New Medicine Service aims to improve medicine-taking in patients with asthma, COPD, type 2 diabetes or hypertension, or those currently undergoing anti-platelet/anticoagulant therapy maximum investment.
MURs have been a controversial feature of the pharmacist contract, with a report last year saying their use was ‘bordering on fraudulent’.
From this October, pharmacists will have to target at least 70% of their MURs to patients taking high-risk medicines, suffering respiratory disease or those whose prescription has changed post-discharge. They will also be measured on new outcome measures designed to bolster the effectiveness of the reviews.
GPC clinical and prescribing committee chair Dr Bill Beeby said the GPC was concerned over the impact of the new medicines service.
‘The volume and quality of documents in MURs was inappropriate and we need to learn lessons from that. We don’t want medicine reviews to be risk-averse assessments that produce huge volumes of referrals,’ he said.
Other GPs were more sceptical. Dr Lisa Silver, a GP in Oxfordshire, said: ‘The idea sounds sound, but I’m not sure there’s evidence it improves benefit.’
‘Part of QOF is that GPs do a medication review we’re checking that a patient takes his or her medicines correctly.’