NHS Discharge Medicines Service

The NHS Discharge Medicines Service is a new essential service for community pharmacy contractors, commencing on the 15 February 2021. As an essential service, it must be provided by all community pharmacy contractors.

The service has been established to ensure better communication of changes to a patient’s medication when they leave hospital and to reduce incidences of avoidable harm caused by medicines. By referring patients to community pharmacy on discharge with information about medication changes made in hospital, community pharmacy can support patients to improve outcomes, prevent harm and reduce readmissions.

To support community pharmacy, hospital, and primary care network (PCN) clinical teams with delivering the NHS Discharge Medicines Service, the following materials are available:

NHS Pharmacy Regulations Guidance 2020: Chapter 8 of the Regulations Guidance is on the NHS Discharge Medicine Service and has been published to support pharmacy contractors in providing the service. Pharmacy contractors are asked to familiarise themselves with the guidance and the roles and responsibilities of the community pharmacist, and prepare for implementation.

Discharge Medicines Service Toolkit: To ensure that a cross-sector approach is taken to implementation, and to support clinical teams across hospitals, PCNs and community pharmacy to provide the service, a cross-sector toolkit has been published. The draft toolkit sets out the shared responsibility and roles of clinical teams across community pharmacy, NHS trusts and PCNs in medicines reconciliation on discharge. Clinical teams in the respective organisations should ensure that they:

    • have read the cross-sector toolkit and understand the NHS Discharge Medicines Service; and
    • fully understand their role and responsibilities in delivering the NHS Discharge Medicines Service.
Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) Training Materials: Clinical teams engaged in providing the NHS Discharge Medicines Service across all sectors (community pharmacy, hospitals, and PCNs) need to ensure that they understand the full patient pathway. It is advised that community pharmacies, NHS trusts and PCNs ensure that all staff making referrals, delivering or supporting delivery of the service, complete the CPPE NHS Discharge Medicines Service training.