The NHS Medicines: Care and Review Service at Your Local Pharmacy
NHS Medicines: Care and Review Service
In Scotland, services at community pharmacies (pharmacies with a contract to provide NHS prescriptions and services) are changing to better support people who take medicines for long-term conditions. The NHS Medicines: Care and Review service is available to anyone who is registered with a GP in Scotland.
Pharmacists are experts in medicines and will talk to you about how to get the best from your medicines. You can talk to them about any worries or concerns that you may have about the medicines you are taking.
What is the Medicines: Care and Review Service?
There are three parts to the service.
- Reviewing your medicines
The pharmacist will look at how you take your medicines. They will speak to you about any problems you may have with your medicines and decide, with you, if a care plan would help you get the most benefit from the medicines you take. The pharmacist will carry out a review of your medicines at least once a year.
- Care planning
The pharmacist will agree a care plan with you. The plan helps the pharmacist record and plan anything that needs to happen to help you get the most out of your medicines, especially if you have been having any problems. They can give you a copy of your care plan and may, if you agree, contact your doctor about it if necessary.
- Serial prescriptions
You may be able to get serial prescriptions from your doctor so you can get your medicines on a long-term, repeat prescription without having to place orders every month (or two months) as you do now.
You will need to register at a pharmacy to use any part of the Medicines: Care and Review service.
Registering will help you to get advice and support tailored to you. Pharmacists in the community can't see your GP record, so registering for the service helps them to build a picture of your individual needs and what matters to you when it comes to your health.
How do I register for the service?
You will need to choose a pharmacy where you would like to use the Medicines: Care and Review service. It's a good idea to register with the pharmacy that you normally go to for your medicines as the pharmacist there will know you and what medicines you take.
You can register at any time – you don't need to make an appointment. When you register, the pharmacist may ask you for some information, including your name, address and date of birth. You will have to fill in a registration form. The registration form will confirm that:
- you want to register for the service;
- you are registered with a GP in Scotland and have a long-term condition;
- you agree to your doctor and pharmacist sharing some information about your medicines; and
- the information you have given on the form is correct.
You and the pharmacist will need to sign the form. This form is the record of your registration for the service.
Reviewing your medicines
When you first register for the service, and at least once a year after that, the pharmacist will review your medicines with you. When you first register, the review will include some questions about how you take your medicines and any problems you may have. Each year after that the review will make sure that your medicines are still working for you.
If your pharmacist thinks a care plan would help you, they will ask you about any problems you are having with your medicines. They will talk to you about what you would like to do about the problems. They will then develop your care plan with you. It will set out any actions that you and the pharmacist need to take to help you with your medicines. The pharmacist will then regularly review and update the care plan with you.
Your care plan will include information on the following.
- Any problems you may have with your medicines (for example, unpleasant side effects, difficulty swallowing tablets or remembering when to take them)
- What the pharmacist would like to do to help you with your problems (for example, make it easier for you to take your medicines)
- What the pharmacist and you think you both need to do to help with the problems (for example, speak to your doctor about changing your tablets to easy-to-swallow capsules or a liquid)
- When the problem has been solved or if something else needs to happen
The pharmacist will work with you to develop and review your care plan. They may share some information from the care plan with your doctor, but only if you agree. Your doctor and you will decide what changes, if any, might be needed, including changes to your medicines.
All staff working with or for the NHS have a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. Your care plan is held safely and securely by the pharmacy, and only a pharmacist can look at your care plan. You can ask for a printed copy of your care plan.
What happens when I have a care plan?
The pharmacist will review your care plan regularly with you. This will usually happen when you collect a repeat prescription. Sometimes, the pharmacist may ask to speak with you about your care plan. They will always talk to you in private.
The pharmacist will check your care plan regularly to make sure it is helping you get the most benefit from your medicines, and will update your care plan if your healthcare needs change.
Every person who registers for the NHS Medicines: Care and Review service is entitled to have a care plan. If you can manage your medicines and condition well, you may not need a detailed plan.
Pharmacies are working with GP practices to help people get their medicines at the best time for them. If you are prescribed regular repeat medicines you may be able to have a 'serial prescription', if your doctor thinks this is suitable for you.
A serial prescription means that you can get your repeat medicines straight from a pharmacy without having to order a prescription from your doctor beforehand.
What does this mean for me?
Your doctor or pharmacist may suggest that you are suitable for a serial prescription. Your doctor can then give you a serial prescription which is valid for 6 or 12 months. This means you won't need to order your medicines from your GP practice during that time. Instead your community pharmacist will keep the serial prescription and supply your medicines, usually each month or every second month, depending on your doctor's wishes.
Your doctor may decide that not all of your medicines can be supplied on a serial prescription. If that is the case you will have to order these items from your GP practice when you need them.
What happens if my medicines change?
Your doctor will tell the pharmacy that your medicine has changed. The pharmacist will speak to you to check that you understand the changes and what you need to do.
What should I do if I am prescribed extra medicines?
If you have been prescribed extra medicines (for example, if your dose has changed, or you have been in hospital), please tell your community pharmacist and:
- give them a list of your current medicines;
- tell them how many you take each day; and
- tell them how many of each item you have at home.
It's important to also make sure your GP knows about any changes that have been made to your medicines if you have been in hospital.
What happens if I go on holiday and won't have enough medicines to last?
If you are going on holiday you can collect your next prescription early, or get more than usual. If you need to do this, you should tell the pharmacist so they can prepare what you need. You will not be able to get more than a three-month supply at any one time.
Each time you collect your medicines the pharmacist will tell your doctor. This keeps all of your records accurate and up to date. By registering for the service, you are giving the pharmacist permission to share this information with your doctor.
What happens when my serial prescription is due to run out?
The pharmacist will ask you to sign the back of the current serial prescription form. They will then contact your doctor to ask for a new serial prescription. Your doctor may need you to make an appointment for a check-up before they issue the next serial prescription.
Can I use other pharmacies?
If you have a serial prescription you will need to collect your medicines from the pharmacy you are registered with for the Medicines: Care and Review service. However, you can go to other pharmacies for other prescriptions, to buy medicine or to get advice.
Who can I contact for more information?
If you have any questions, please speak to the pharmacist.
This leaflet and information about the Medicines: Care and Review service is available on the NHS Inform website: www.nhsinform.scot
Adapted with thanks from NHS Forth Valley Pharmacy Services.