Medicines Optimisation Clinical Reference Group

Scope and service

Medicines play a crucial role in maintaining health, preventing illness, managing long-term conditions and curing disease. In an era of significant economic, demographic and technological challenge, it is vital that patients get the best quality outcomes from medicines.

The NHS faces unprecedented change in terms of patients living longer with long-term, sometimes complex conditions; increasing demands on NHS funding, and the wider global economic situation.

Against this background, it is known that:

  • up to 50 per cent of patients do not take their medicines as intended;
  • between 5 and 8 per cent of all unplanned hospital admissions are due to medication issues;
  • medicines waste is a significant, and largely untackled, issue;
  • according to medication safety data, the NHS could do much better at reporting and preventing avoidable harm from medicines;
  • resistance to antimicrobials presents a very real and significant threat to modern health care.

The Specialised Commissioning Medicines Optimisation Clinical Reference Group (CRG) supports NHS England’s specialised commissioning function by providing advice in the form of a national expert forum on high cost medicines.

The CRG works across all service-specific CRGs and its main objectives are:

  • to provide a forum for commissioners, providers and procurement pharmacists to share ideas about optimising the use of medicines included in the specialised commissioning ‘high cost drugs list’;
  • to engage with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), procurement, providers and the Commercial Medicines Unit in the development and delivery of a work plan for high cost medicines;
  • to work in collaboration with national medicines procurement groups, National Pharmaceutical Supply Group (NPSG) and Pharmaceutical Market Strategy Group (PMSG);
  • to provide a forum to debate and reach consensus on issues such as the repatriation of patients to secondary care, rebate and gain share arrangements;
  • to support the on-going implementation of home care reforms.

Chair and membership

A voluntary Chair is appointed for a three-year term. Please see the Clinical Guide for CRGs for further information. Clinical members are drawn from the 12 senate areas (plus two additional representatives for London) in England and are voluntary appointments. Up to four patient body representatives and up to four representatives from affiliated bodies are eligible to join the CRG membership. There will also be one accountable lead commissioner from NHS England  and one co-opted Public Health representative as required.

Professor Liz Kay, Chair, NHS England Medicines Optimisation Clinical Reference Group | Clinical Director, Medicines Management & Pharmacy Services, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Appointed in 1998, Professor Liz Kay is Clinical Director for Medicines Management and Pharmacy Services at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, one of the largest teaching hospital organisations in Europe. She is visiting Chair in Pharmaceutical Care at the University of Leeds. With a background in hospital management, Professor Kay now heads a department with over 500 staff.  She works through multi-disciplinary teams and across the health economy and is particularly interested in innovative projects to improve patient experience. She is actively involved in the issues currently affecting the pharmacy profession through membership of several strategic initiatives across England and has recently been appointed as the Chair of the Medicines Optimisation Clinical Reference Group. She has a long standing interest in workforce development across pharmacy practice. Professor Kay is a Registrant Member of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC).

Forename Surname Job title
Malcolm Qualie Pharmacy Lead
Ann Jacklin Project Lead, Hospital Pharmacy and Medicines Optimisation Project
Alison Beaney Regional Quality Assurance Specialist
Sue Faulding Pharmacist and Programme Manager
Lynne Richley Specialist Pharmacy Advisor
Nickie O’Neill Lead Category Manager
Gaye Lewington Chief Pharmacist
Andrew Davies Director of Pharmacy and Chair Pharmacy Business Technology Group
Sarah Pacey Chief Pharmacist
Jamie Coleman Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Medical Education
Amy Bowen Director of Service Development
Elizabeth Macartney Director and Trustee
Mark Jackson Head of Quality Assurance
Helen Thorp Medicines Finance and Commissioning Pharmacist
Maureen Hendry Interface Support Pharmacist
Judith Gregory Assistant Head of Pharmacy
Mary Weatherstone Specialist Pharmacist and Practice Pharmacist
Rob Duncombe Director of Pharmacy
Vanessa Burgess Chief Pharmacist and Assistant Director Medicines Optimisaton and LTCs
Philip Aubrey Medicines Optimisation and Pharmacy Procurement Secondary Care Lead
Carl Holvey Pharmacist – Mental Health
Jeanette Stephenson Head of Medicines Optimisation
Margaret Dolan Regional Pharmacy Procurement Specialist
Stephen Brown Chief Pharmacist
Nick Bolton* (job share with MT) Senior Pharmacist & Medicines Safety Officer
Michelle Trevett* (job share with NB) Senior Pharmacist
Neil Bugg Anaesthetics Consultant
Damian Child Chief Pharmacist

Patient and carer representative members

  • Shinor Kawa
  • Amy Bowen
  • Elizabeth Macartney

Professional organisation representative members

  • National Pharmaceutical Supply Group: Carol Farrow, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Helen Thorp
  • Pharmaceutical Market Support Group representative, Philip Deady, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • United Kingdom Clinical Pharmacy Association, Liz Kay

Additional representative members

  • Commissioning Support Unit representative: Gaye Lewington, Kent and Medway CSU
  • Commercial Medicines Unit representative: Nickie O’Neill, Department of Health
  • Information Technology representative: Andrew Davies, North Bristol NHS Trust
  • Pharmacologist representative: Raymond MacAllister, University College London
  • Pharmacologist representative: Jamie Coleman, University of Birmingham
  • Accountable Commissioner, Malcolm Qualie
  • Quality Assurance Lead: Mark Jackson
  • Collaborating Commissioner: Vacant
  • Public Health Lead: Vacant

Documents