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New standards issued to drive up safety and quality of homecare services

Commissioners increasingly using these services to provide medicines directly to patients at home

Caroline White

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has issued new professional standards for homecare services in a bid to ensure that patients using these services receive safe and effective care, and know what to expect from them.

The move follows the publication in 2011 of a Department of Health commissioned into homecare services, which made a list of recommendations to improve the financial and clinical governance arrangements for patients receiving medicines at home directly from the manufacturer—a route that is increasingly being used by commissioners.

The 10 standards, which reflect those used for hospital pharmacy services, aim to provide commissioners of homecare services a framework for quality and give pharmacists a consistent set of standards against which they can be held accountable and use to develop their professional practice and improve services.

And they will drive up the quality and consistency of homecare services, irrespective of provider, to help patients get the best out of their medicines and reduce the risk of mistakes.

They cover three principal domains of the patient experience; implementation and delivery of services; and governance arrangements. They include areas such as, referrals, ongoing care, and monitoring of outcomes; sourcing and supply; experience and competencies of the homecare team; and custom made and unlicensed imported medicines.

David Branford, Chair of the English Pharmacy Board said he was particularly pleased to see the role of the chief pharmacist recognised as well as the pivotal role for pharmacists at every stage of the process.

Mark Hackett, Chair of the Department of Health Homecare Strategy Board and CEO University Hospital North Staffordshire NHS Trust said: “The main aim of these standards is to ensure all patients receive safe and effective homecare services. I’d like to see them adopted by all providers and commissioners to make sure standards are raised and maintained in the future service provision.”

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