Services case study: Utilising community pharmacists to reduce prescribing waste
Published on: 27th March 2018 | Updated on: 28th March 2022
In August 2017, Community Pharmacy England published a case study highlighting a medicines optimisation pilot in Bath and North-East Somerset (BANES) as detailed in an Executive Summary written by Avon LPC and BANES Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
A full evaluation of the service has been published in Prescriber and shows that over four months, the project has received 300 entries from community pharmacies with 187 so far being implemented by the practice support pharmacist which has resulted in changes to the patient’s record. This represents a total annual net saving of £18,384 and a CCG return on investment of £4.28 for every £1 spent in fees.
The most common type of recommendation was to switch from one medication to another, followed by removal of medication, reducing the quantity on the prescription and reducing the frequency of prescribing. The removal of medication achieved the biggest savings of £7989 annually.
The success with the initial 16 pharmacies has meant that the project has been opened up to all 40 pharmacies in BANES CCG, and it is projected that in year one over £80,000 of annualised savings will be identified. Once all 40 pharmacies in the CCG start to deliver the service, the annual potential savings are projected to be over £200,000.
The main outcome for the project was to reduce prescribing waste and hence reduce CCG prescribing costs. However, an unforeseen benefit of the project was the enhanced working relationship between the community pharmacist and the practice support pharmacist that has created direct links and stimulated communications.
The evaluation concludes that by harnessing a community pharmacists’ extensive medication knowledge and patient contact time, this project puts them at the forefront of community-based medicines optimisation and presents a novel way for CCGs to work with their community pharmacy colleagues.