NHSCC calls for national support of local medicines optimisation teams to deliver for patients and the NHS

A new publication launched today by NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) highlights the benefits of local medicines optimisations teams, whose role is to ensure that patients get the right medicines at the right time to improve outcomes, improve safety and help the NHS to get better value from their medicines spend. Today’s publication outlines five ways in which national organisations can support these teams in the future.

Local medicines optimisation teams are led by pharmacists within commissioning structures and have a key role to play in ensuring medicines safety and optimisation across local areas. As the commissioning landscape evolves, and strategic decision-making becomes increasingly common, they bring additional value by addressing inappropriate medicines usage to improve patient safety and outcomes, alongside a range of other functions including addressing antibiotic usage, reducing the burden on primary care and supporting the self care agenda.

They are crucial to delivering system efficiencies to release NHS funding that can be reinvested in other frontline services in the local area. In a sample survey of NHSCC members we found that in 2016/17 these teams delivered savings 23 per cent higher than their target with £2.92 million of savings per CCG against a target of £2.38 million. We estimate that this equates to a total saving of over £450m across the country.

National support now and in the future

Through a series of interviews and a survey of NHSCC members, the publication identifies five ways in which our members believe NHS England and other national organisations can ensure that local medicines optimisation teams are effectively supported to maximise their contribution. These are:

  • Ensure effective communication and engagement with local medicines optimisation teams, such as through the development of a formal support network
  • Identify opportunities to develop national guidance for local implementation
  • Support local medicines optimisation teams by taking national action, such as by negotiating improved deals with pharmaceutical companies
  • Balance the need for national oversight with the flexibility for medicines optimisation teams to make decisions based on local assessment of need and priority
  • Utilise the expertise of local medicines optimisations teams

Julie Wood, chief executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners, commented: “This publication highlights the outstanding work that local medicines optimisations teams are already doing across the country to ensure safety and best outcomes for patients as well as getting the best value for each NHS pound on behalf of the taxpayer. We believe it is therefore essential that these teams are supported by NHS England and other national bodies to continue this important work and keep on delivering for patients, populations and the NHS.”

The publication features several case studies from clinical commissioning groups across the country that demonstrate the value that local strategic medicines optimisation teams bring for patients, populations and the wider NHS. It includes a foreword from Keith Ridge, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England, which recognises the value of local strategic medicines optimisation teams and the important role they will play in the NHS as the commissioning system evolves.


25 September 2018

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