OBJECTIVES: Service and stakeholder evaluation of an NHS-funded service providing out-ofhours (OOH) emergency repeat medications to patients self-presenting at community pharmacies.
SETTING: Community pharmacies across the North East of England accredited to provide this service.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients self-presenting to community pharmacies during OOH periods with emergency repeat medication supply requests.
INTERVENTION: Community pharmacists assessed each request for clinical appropriateness and when suitable provide an emergency repeat medication supply, with additional pharmaceutical advice and services if required.
PRIMARY OUTCOMES: Number of emergency repeat medication supplies, time of request, reason for access, medication(s), pharmaceutical advice and services provided. Secondary outcomes were community pharmacist and patient satisfaction.
RESULTS: A total of 2485 patients were managed across 227 community pharmacies (15 December 2014 to 7 April 2015). Most patients presented on Saturdays, with increased activity over national holidays. Older age was associated with increased service use. Of the 3226 medications provided, 439 were classified as high risk. Patients found this service easy to access and were willing to access the community pharmacy in the future for medication-related issues. In the absence of this service, 50% of patients would have missed their medication(s) until they saw their doctor and a further 46% would have accessed an alternative service. The cost of National Health Service (NHS) service(s) for patients who would have accessed an alternative OOH service was estimated as 37 times that of the community pharmacy service provided. Community pharmacists were happy to provide this service despite increased consultation times and workload.
CONCLUSIONS: Community pharmacists were able to manage patients' OOH requests for emergency repeat medication and patients were happy with the service provided. Since the service cost was favourable when compared with alternative OOH services, it would be a viable option to reduce the workload on the wider NHS.