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Homecare services failing patients?


Homecare services failing patients?

An inquiry by the House of Lords Public Services Committee (PSC) is aiming to find out if homecare medicines services (HCMs) are failing patients.

About half a million people in England use HCMs. Pharma companies commission 70-80 per cent of HCMs; the NHS
the remainder.

In written evidence to the PSC, the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) highlighted numerous issues with HCMs including: delayed initiation of new prescriptions; problems with prescription management for chronic treatments; delayed visits from HCM nurses to educate patients about self-administration; wrong doses; inaccurate and inadequate patient information; and other communication and logistical issues.

These issues “appear to be managerial, organisational, and infrastructural … with a seemingly complete lack of understanding of the impact the delays have on patients and their health/well-being [and on]
healthcare professionals, as well as a complete lack of desire to reflect on past incidents and improve,” BAD wrote.

In its written evidence, the British Society for Rheumatology reported results from a survey of 23 per cent of NHS trusts in England. The survey found that, on average, nine patients a month (range 0.5-70) missed doses because of issues with HCMs. Applying that average to every trust in NHS England, 23,220 patients using rheumatology HCMs would miss doses. 

HCM Sciensus Pharma Services noted that the HCMs “[are] the last link to the patient and so, understandably, [are] the accountable face for the patient making the provider culpable regardless of cause”.

Sciensus added that the inquiry “has already shown evidence of the importance of the NHS centrally providing a more strategic oversight to this sector, which we certainly support”.

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