The New Medicines Service (NMS) is provided by community pharmacists in England to support patient adherence after the initiation of a new treatment. It is provided as part of the National Health Service (NHS) pharmacy contractual framework and involves a three-stage process: patient engagement, intervention and follow-up. The study aims to explore community pharmacists' experiences and perceptions of NMS within one area of the United Kingdom.Methods
In-depth semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 14 community pharmacists. Interviews were audio-recorded, independently transcribed and thematically analysed.Key findings
Pharmacists gave a mixed response to the operationalisation, ranging from positive opportunities for improving adherence and enhancement of practice to difficulties in terms of its administration. Pharmacists generally welcomed opportunities to utilise their professional expertise to achieve better patient engagement and for pharmacy practice to develop as a patient resource. There was a perceived need for better publicity about the service. Different levels of collaborative working were reported. Some pharmacists were working closely with local general practices most were not. Collaboration with nurses in the management of long-term conditions was rarely reported but desired by pharmacists. Where relationships with general practitioners (GPs) and nurses were established, NMS was an opportunity for further collaboration; however, others reported a lack of feedback and recognition of their role.Conclusions
Community pharmacists perceived the NMS service as beneficial to patients by providing additional advice and reassurance, but perceptions of its operationalisation were mixed. Overall, our findings indicate that NMS provides an opportunity for patient benefit and the development of contemporary pharmacy practice, but better collaboration with GPs and practice nurses could enhance the service.