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Use of a service evaluation and lean thinking transformation to redesign an NHS 111 refer to community Pharmacy for Emergency Repeat Medication Supply Service (PERMSS)

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  • Hamde Nazar
  • Zachariah Nazar
  • Jill Simpson
  • Andre Yeung
  • Cate Whittlesea
Objectives - To demonstrate the contribution of community pharmacy from NHS 111 referrals out of hours (OOH) for emergency supply repeat medication requests via presentation of service activity, community pharmacist feedback and lean thinking transformation.

Design - Descriptive service evaluation using routine service activity data over the pilot period; survey of community pharmacists, and service redesign through lean thinking transformation.

Setting - North East of England NHS 111 provider and accredited community pharmacies across the North East of England.

Participants - Patients calling the North East of England NHS 111 provider during OOH with emergency repeat medication supply requests.

Interventions - NHS 111 referral to community pharmacies for assessment and if appropriate, supply of emergency repeat medication.

Main outcome measures - Number of emergency repeat medication supply referrals, completion rates, reasons for rejections, time of request, reason for access, medication(s), pharmaceutical advice and services provided. Secondary outcomes were community pharmacist feedback and lean thinking transformation of the patient pathway.

Results - NHS 111 referred 1468 patients to 114 community pharmacies (15/12/2014–7/4/2015). Most patients presented on Saturdays, with increased activity over national holidays. Community pharmacists completed 951 (64.8%) referrals providing 2297 medications; 412 were high risk. The most common reason for rejecting referrals was no medication in stock. Community pharmacists were positive about the provision of this service. The lean thinking transformation reduced the number of non-added value steps, waits and bottlenecks in the patient pathway.

Conclusions - NHS 111 can redirect callers OOH from urgent and emergency care services to community pharmacy for management of emergency repeat medication supply. Existing IT and community pharmacy regulations allowed patients to receive a medication supply and pharmaceutical advice. Community pharmacists supported integration into the NHS OOH services. Adopting lean thinking provided a structured framework to evaluate and redesign the service with the aim to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere011269
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


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