Community pharmacist support for patients leaving hospital

When some patients leave hospital, they can need extra support taking their prescribed medicines. This may be because their medicines have changed, or they need a bit of help taking their medicines safely and effectively. The transfer of care process between care settings is also associated with an increased risk of harm, with 30-70% of patients experiencing unintentional changes to their treatment, or an error is made because of a miscommunication. These are some of the challenges that the Transfer of Care Around Medicines Programme aims to address.

When patients are discharged from hospital, they may be referred through a safe and secure digital platform for advice from their local community pharmacist on how to manage their medicines with confidence. Improving the transfer of information about a patient’s medicines should also help to ensure that they continue to take the right medication on leaving hospital. Both aspects can reduce the incidence of avoidable harm.

Evidence has clearly shown that patients who saw their community pharmacist after their discharge from hospital were much less likely to be readmitted and, if they were, that they experienced a reduced length of stay. Further details on service evaluation can be found below.

The TCAM pathway also brings benefits to Community Pharmacy through improved workflow and operational processes, better informed dispensing and a reduction in waste medicine.

We are working with partners across Kent Surrey and Sussex, including trusts, Local Pharmaceutical Committees and CCGs, to implement the pathway and where possible set up secure electronic interfaces between the hospital IT systems and community pharmacy systems in order to provide patient medicines information quickly and seamlessly between care settings.

This pathway is now live from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and further implementations are underway and planned throughout 2019/20 and beyond.

There is a PharmOutcomes Instruction Video for completion of TCAM referrals and follow up form.

For further information please contact Rebecca Sharp, Programme Manager:

*The TCAM image was designed by Wessex AHSN, and used with their permission