The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), British Medical Association (BMA) and NHS Employers jointly published two pieces of guidance for GP practices in January 2009. These were ‘achieving best value from the community pharmacy medicines use review (MUR) service’ and ‘guidance for the implementation of repeat dispensing’.
MURs were introduced to community pharmacy under the new community pharmacy contract that came into effect in April 2005. The MUR is a service offered by an accredited community pharmacist whereby a patient has the opportunity to have a face to face discussion with their local pharmacist to discuss how they use and take their medicines.
Two thirds of prescriptions generated in primary care are for patients needing repeat supplies of regular medicines and as such, account for a significant workload in GP practices. Repeat Dispensing is a service that enables community pharmacists to manage the supply of repeat medicines for patients that choose to use it.
Guidance for GP practices on achieving best value from the community pharmacy medicines use review service
This guidance highlights the benefits of MURs, both to GP practices and patients. It stresses the importance of effective communication and reporting procedures between the GP practice and community pharmacy as well as providing a series of top tips that will be of interest to the whole healthcare team.
Guidance for the implementation of repeat dispensing
This guidance explains briefly but clearly what repeat dispensing is, how suitable patients might be identified and the potential benefits. It also gives the tops ten tips for successful implementation; which have been suggested by GPs, practice managers and pharmacists.
What does this mean to medicines management?
The guidance provided in these two documents is a useful addition to the information already available on MURs and repeat dispensing. It provides a quick and easy to use resource for general practice and can also be used by the wider healthcare team to promote discussion and support the improvement of patient care. The white paper ‘Pharmacy in England: Building on strengths – delivering the future’ stated that the government believed MUR services needed to be prioritised and the guidance relating to MURs gives some advice on how this might be done. The white paper also identified that mechanisms were needed to support further the incremental implementation of repeat dispensing, as there was concern about the currently disappointing percentage of prescriptions issued to be dispensed in instalments through repeat dispensing.
How does this relate to other publications or evidence?
The National Prescribing Centre has a number of other resources relating to MURs and repeat dispensing available via NPC. These resources include good practice guides, case studies, educational presentations, implementation tools and knowledge assessment quizzes. NPC also contains resources and educational materials that may be useful in developing improved communication or multidisciplinary working; both of which are essential when looking to improve the effectiveness of MURs or implement repeat dispensing.
Anyone working in general practice should read this guidance and ensure their colleagues are also aware of it. It is also useful to the wider healthcare team, especially those working in community pharmacy, as it provides an opportunity for discussion as well as being introductory reading.