The legal framework for the New Medicines Service (NMS) and implementation of the targeted Medicines Use Reviews (MURs) that will be available through community pharmacies from October 1 has now been published.

The framework for the these initiatives, which are designed to improve the way patients are provided with medicines and were negotiated by NHS Employers and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), appears in The Pharmaceutical Services (Advanced and Enhanced Services) (England) Directions, which have now been published by the Department of Health.

The NMS is designed to provide improved discussion and feedback between patients and pharmacists to maximise the benefits of the medication which patients are prescribed, while targeted MURs will focus on patient groups which particularly need support with their medicines. 

The changes will also increase the amount of information available to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) from community pharmacists regarding patients' use of medicines and will help to demonstrate to the NHS that the MUR service is effective, the Department notes.

Alongside the Directions, a number of other key documents have been published, which include a declaration form for pharmacy contractors to inform their PCT that they intend to deliver the NMS, and nationally-agreed reporting templates for pharmacy contractors to feed back to PCTs key information on their NMS and MUR activity.

NHS Employers and the PSNC will also publish a document which describes the new and future requirements for collating data on MURs.

Publication of the Directions was welcomed by Felicity Cox, lead negotiator for NHS Employers, who said it means there is now nothing to prevent community pharmacies from implementing the NMS and undertaking targeted MURs from October 1.

"The requirement for pharmacies to report to their PCT on their MUR activity is an important step forward for NHS commissioners in getting vital information on what pharmacy contractors are delivering as part of the MUR service," she added.

The PSNC's chief executive, Sue Sharpe, said she was pleased it had been possible to agree simple reporting requirements for MURs which should be manageable for pharmacists to undertake as part of the revised MUR services.

"This addresses the concerns that some commissioners have expressed about the service, and will help to build an evidence base for the future," said Ms Sharpe.