Hospital patients who receive post-discharge support from a community pharmacist are less likely to be readmitted into hospitals than those who don’t, a study has shown. 

Researchers from the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and the South West Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) kept track of 1,130 patients who were discharged from District General hospital in Cornwall between January and October 2017 to see how many were readmitted within 30 days of their discharge date. 

The readmission rate of those receiving the hospital’s transfer of care around medicines (TCAM) from pharmacists was ‘significantly’ lower than of those who didn’t receive the service, the results, published by the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, showed. 

Out of the 365 post-discharge patients who received some form of pharmacy intervention, only 8.5% were readmitted within 30 days of discharge. This compares with 765 post-discharge patients who received no form of TCAM, and of whom 23% were readmitted within the 30 day period. 

Some methods of intervention used by pharmacies in the study included Medicines Use Reviews, home delivery of medicines, the New Medicines Service, and review monitored dosage service arrangements. 

The TCAM service began in July 2014 as a joint project between Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and North of Tyne local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) and has since extended across the country. Through the service, hospitals can electronically refer patients to community pharmacies through the PharmOutcomes system, allowing pharmacists to follow up with patients. 

In response to the findings from TCAM service in Cornwall, the researchers said that the results have ‘provided further evidence to support previous findings that community pharmacy intervention post-discharge can lower hospital readmission rates.

‘Community pharmacists were well placed to provide an additional safety net, in addition to general practice, and carry out targeted intervention post-hospital discharge,’ they added.