The NHS Discharge Medicines Service is a new essential service for 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.
NHS England said on 12 January 2022 that patients “who receive this service are less likely to be readmitted (5.8% versus 16% at 30 days), and spend fewer days in hospital (7.2 days on average compared to 13.1 for patients who did not receive the service) where they are readmitted”.
This follows an earlier analysis of referral data by NHS England, which suggested that the Discharge Medicines Service could have helped avoid 17,238 hospital bed days in three months.
See MMP11 Discharge Medicines Service SOP for full details.
- Enter the community pharmacy ODS code in the comm.pharm.code field on the EPMA discharge prescription letter field as part of the medicines reconciliation or discharge reconciliation process. Please do not copy and paste the ODS code as this causes issues with the automation process for sending the referral as the characters are not recognised.
- Enter Referral Reason (see SOP)
- Enter Referrer details i.e. your contact details
These details can be added any time during the patient admission by a pharmacist or technician but must be checked for changes as part of the final discharge Rx clinical check by the pharmacist.
What if the patient if not eligible or opts-out?
If patients opt-out or are not eligible for the DMS service simply leave the fields blank. Only those discharge prescriptions with an ODS code entered will trigger a referral upon discharge from the ward.
Every effort should be made to discuss and document the DMS consent as part of the medicines reconciliation process. However, if this is not possible consent is implied unless patients chooses to opt-out.
Should a service ueser wish to opt-out they can do this by visiting the Mersey Care DMS page https://www.merseycare.nhs.uk/health-and-wellbeing/z-medication and complete the opt-out form. Posters have also been sent to all ward managers to signpost service to this webpage.