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Navigating the NHS

New Medicine Service

What is it?

The New Medicine Service (NMS) aims to provide early support to patients in England who are newly prescribed a medicine for a long-term condition. It offers follow-ups to help make sure more patients take their medicines properly.

Initially the NMS involves a patient having a consultation with the pharmacist, in a private room about the new medicine they have been prescribed. The pharmacist will talk to them about the medication including how to take it, and the importance of taking the medication.

This is followed by a face-to-face chat or telephone conversation 14 days later and a follow-up about a month after beginning the new medicine. The pharmacist will help identify any problems the patient is experiencing with the medication and their need for further information and support.

The service is free to patients and is similar to the Medicines Use Review (MUR) which is already on offer at some pharmacies.

Who is it designed to help?

The NMS will primarily focus on patients with asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), type 2 diabetes, hypertension or who are receiving antiplatelet/anticoagulant therapy.

At participating pharmacies patients may be offered the service when they present a prescription for a new medicine or they may be referred to the service by their GP.

Improving adherence

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee suggests that making sure patients take the medicines they've been given in the way they've been prescribed, may have a far greater impact on the health of the population than any improvement in specific medical treatments.

In England, around 15 million people have a long term condition needing regular medication, but it's estimated that between 30 and 50% of prescribed medicines are not taken as recommended.

Non-adherence is often a hidden problem: undisclosed by patients and unrecognised by doctors. It's thought some patients have little understanding of their condition or treatment and often make decisions about their medicines and whether they are going to take them very soon after they've been prescribed.

This is where the NMS may make a difference. It's hoped pharmacists, (with the knowledge of local GPs and Clinical Commissioning Groups) can use the skills and knowledge they already have to successfully provide advice and support when a medicine is newly prescribed.

The aim

The aim of the service is to:

  • Improve medicines adherence
  • Increase patient engagement with their condition and medicines, which will support them in making decisions about their treatment and self management
  • Reduce medicines wastage
  • Reduce hospital admissions due to adverse events associated with medicines
  • Reduce side effects from medicines
  • Increase reporting of medicine adverse reactions by pharmacists and patients

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 16, 2013

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