PSNC awaits pilot on inclusion of antidepressants in NMS

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PSNC awaits pilot on inclusion of antidepressants in NMS

The PSNC has said its support for the inclusion of depression in the New Medicine Service remains unwavering as it keenly awaits the results of an NHS England pilot that will determine whether this condition is added.

Alastair Buxton, PSNC’s director of NHS services, said that the negotiator was satisfied with the expansion of the NMS which was secured as part of talks on the third year of the community pharmacy contractual framework.

Thirteen conditions were added to the NMS following those discussions, allowing pharmacists to support patients when they are prescribed new medicines, but there has been grave disappointment within community pharmacy that depression was not included.

NHS England and Improvement has not yet clarified when the pilot will start and when results will emerge.

“PSNC was pleased with the significant expansion of the New Medicine Service agreed this year in line with NHS priorities,” Mr Buxton said. “Expansion of the NMS to include anti-depressants is still something that PSNC would support. NHSE&I clinical leads had some questions about antidepressants being included in the NMS and that is why they have decided to pilot their inclusion.

“We look forward to the outcomes of the NHSE&I pilots of the NMS in further therapeutic areas: these are being carried out through the Pharmacy Integration Fund.”

The therapeutic areas added to the NMS included acute coronary syndrome, atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, epilepsy, glaucoma; gout, heart failure, hypercholesterolaemia, long term risks of venous thromboembolism/embolism, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s Disease, stroke/transient ischemic attack, and urinary incontinence and retention.

NHS&I di not respond when asked why depression had not been included in the NMS, given the government's pledge to address the mental health crisis in England. 

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