Community pharmacists in Doncaster are being paid to provide a falls prevention service to older people on multiple medicines in a scheme which they hope could become a national model.
Pharmacists are being paid £10 for each intervention and are targeting the 15,000 over 65s living in the borough who are taking three or more medicines and who may be at risk of a fall.
The service, commissioned by Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group and paid for using money announced by the Government in November 2013 to help ease winter pressures, is thought to be the first pharmacy-delivered falls prevention scheme.
Doncaster Local Pharmaceutical Committee secretary Nick Hunter said: “We have been in dialogue with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee about what we have done and it is very interested.
“As far as I am aware no other pharmacy service provides this. It’s not a complicated service for pharmacists to offer; the issue is whether it is a local priority.”
So far, 44 pharmacists from the borough’s 79 pharmacies have been trained to offer the service, which is based on National Institute for Health and Care Excellence falls prevention guidelines.
Pharmacists can offer practical advice such as recommending that patients taking angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors sit down when taking their medicine. They also have the option to refer patients directly to the local specialist falls service run by the acute trust, avoiding the need for a GP referral. Alternatively, they can informally refer patients to social services or an optician as necessary.
The LPC is evaluating the service, which is funded until the end of March 2014. It is hoping to secure research funding to carry out a more detailed study, to include a pharmacist follow-up consultation, in order to show whether the service is cost effective and reduces hospital emergency admissions or fractures from falls.
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