The new medicines service is designed to improve adherence to newly prescribed medicines among people with long-term conditions and will initially focus on patients with asthma and COPD, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and those on antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy. NMS is time-limited until March 2013 and will only continue beyond that time if it provides demonstrable value to the NHS.

Targeted MURs will focus on patients taking high risk medicines, those recently Value based pricing expected in 2014 Paediatric paracetamol doses revised discharged from hospital and those with respiratory disease. At least 50 per cent of all MURs undertaken in a year should be on those patients within the target groups.

Both services are to be funded by up to £55 million annually for two years, although they were announced in March at the same time as funding cuts totalling £110m for 2011/12. Monthly target payments for the NMS will be based on the number of NMS episodes completed relative to the individual pharmacy’s prescription volume, so that pharmacies will be paid up to £25 per completed NMS episode. Pharmacies delivering the service a minimum of six times before the end of March 2012 will receive a £750 implementation payment.

Pharmacists who want to deliver NMS will have to fill in a self-assessment form and declare that they have the necessary skills and knowledge, which includes being accredited to provide medicines use reviews. From October, patients receiving an MUR or NMS intervention must give signed consent for their information to be shared.

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education is facilitating the development of learning programmes to support the implementation of the NMS. These include an open learning programme that will be available to all community pharmacists and a workshop package that could be delivered at a local level.