How can NHS teams navigate medicines optimisation challenges?

We posed the question, ‘What’s the biggest challenge when rolling out medicines optimisation programmes?’ to Clinical Pharmacy Congress attendees. Head of Medicines Optimisation, Selma Abed, dives into the roadblocks NHS teams face when implementing medicines optimisation programmes.

By on June 15, 2023

Last month I attended the Clinical Pharmacy Congress show. I discussed common issues and challenges that medicines optimisation teams experience when initiating programmes.

I’ll be delving deeper into the challenges you identified and how to overcome them – including solutions such as our bespoke end-to-end service, Active Implementation.

1. Primary care level capacity

This first challenge was the most popular point of discussion. The shortage of NHS staff, including GPs and Practice Nurses, has created a capacity issue making it difficult to meet the growing needs of patients. This capacity issue subsequently means that it can be hard to introduce programmes from medicines optimisation teams, meaning any change is likely to be slow and difficult. On top of a lack of staff, the current NHS workforce faces heavy workloads contributing to burnout, in turn leading people to leave the profession or reduce their working hours. Addressing primary care level capacity requires the pressing need for a new and refined approach – this includes implementing care models and initiatives to retain primary care providers.


2. Budget

The cost-of-living crisis is impacting the NHS, staff and patients. From increased property maintenance costs to higher energy and food bills, the NHS is continuing to face worsened health inequalities and a growing prevalence of diseases. With tight budgets agreed before the rollout of medicines optimisation programmes, we find that the budget figures are subject to change, making it hard to implement full programmes. Increasing overall funding to keep up with the rising costs and demands, exploring more efficient ways to deliver healthcare services and incorporating long-term strategic planning and policy changes are necessary to ensure a sustainable future for the NHS.


3. Navigating priorities

As there are various teams to coordinate within medicines optimisation programmes, conflicting team priorities can be challenging as they require transparent and inclusive decision-making processes. Allowing room for collaboration across different teams enables effective communication and provides an opportunity to voice insights and expertise from different skill sets. An open and honest environment can be created by utilising a common Project Manager who’s accessible to all, to create a community of a shared understanding of priorities and discussions to implement medicines optimisation programmes.


4. Buy-in from primary care

Primary care providers are gatekeepers and carry the expertise and firsthand knowledge of the healthcare landscape, challenges and patient preferences. Their input is valuable in understanding the impact of proposed changes, identifying barriers and amending plans to ensure any changes are relevant and patient-centred. Their engagement and support are one of the keys to success.


5. Managing stakeholders

Stakeholder management needs a proactive and inclusive approach. This includes involving stakeholders in decision-making processes, being proactive, making evidence-based decisions and building relationships. Engaging stakeholders as a partner in implementing medicines optimisation programmes help with creating a shared vision for implementation.



Our solution

Overcoming these challenges can be difficult. Our Active Implementation service creates tailored programmes that eliminate the challenges NHS teams experience when it comes to medicines optimisation. This service provides solutions that include:


  • A bespoke programme – this is created to align and successfully implement the desired changes you require.
  • A national team of Nurses, Pharmacists, Technicians and Project Managers – we provide our own team to ensure the already busy workforce can carry on with their current workload without being disrupted. They also carry out services such as patient clinics, audits and reviews.
  • A range of cost-efficient products – we provide various products ready for implementation. Our products can deliver significant savings that can enable the reallocation of the budget to support the areas that need extra funding without compromising quality.
  • A transparent and collaborative service – when initiating a programme, we prioritise communicating current planned changes to stakeholders and local community pharmacy with complete transparency – so they’re engaged and informed. Getting the correct information to the right people helps drive change.

What challenges are you currently facing? I’d love to hear your thoughts and views and discuss how we can work together to deliver the change you wish to see. Click here to see how we can help you to create successful and meaningful medicines optimisation programmes.

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