A multidisciplinary, UK-wide task and finish group has been set up to refresh the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS)’s Professional Standards for Homecare Services.

The standards, which were first published in 2013, seek to ensure that patients experience a consistent quality of care across all providers of homecare medicines services, as well as being protected from avoidable incidents and getting the best outcomes from their medicines.

They are aimed at teams providing and commissioning services that deliver medication, and any necessary associated care, direct to the patient’s home.

According to the National Clinical Homecare Association (NCHA), over 500,000 patients receive clinical homecare, which often revolves around providing specialist medicines which patients administer themselves at home with appropriate support and training.

It can also include healthcare professionals visiting patients at home to provide support and training to administer the medicines.

Conditions treated through clinical homecare pathways can include acute and long term conditions - from infections requiring intravenous antibiotics to home parenteral nutrition.

The NCHA said that the sector has been growing at a rate of over 20% year on year, and is anticipated to be further expanded under the NHS Five-year-forward view.

It currently accounts for £4bn, or 30%, of the NHS secondary care medicines budget, which would rise to 60% if extended to all medicines known to be suitable for homecare.

The standards apply both to the NHS services who are reviewing the patients, as well as the homecare medicines providers who are supplying medicines to patients at home, but do not apply to care homes or community pharmacies delivering medicines.

The refresh will led by chief pharmaceutical officer’s clinical fellow Jennifer Allen, who said that since the standards were now 10 years old, ‘it is important that they are reviewed and brought up to date to reflect current service design, medicine pathways and delivery models to ensure patients receive safe and effective medication supply and associated care’.

The taskforce will include representatives from the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK) and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). This multidisciplinary group will work to create a draft refresh of the standards, which will be shared more widely for consultation in August, with the final version to be completed in the autumn.

Pharmacy multiple LloydsPharmacy has expanded into the homecare sector while selling many of its community pharmacy branches, delivering nursing services alongside compounding, dispensing and delivering medicines.