Journal of Pharmacy Management - Jan 2022

Journal of Pharmacy Management • Volume 38 • Issue 1 • January 2022 Improving engagement between medicines optimisation teams and general practice during a pandemic Mahesh Mistry, (MRPharmS, MPharm, PGClinDip), Deputy Director for Clinical Services and Jo Loague, (MRPharmS, MPharm, PGClinDip, IPresc), Head of Service: Medicines Optimisation and Individual Funding Requests, at NHS Arden and Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit Correspondence to: [email protected] / jo [email protected] Abstract Title: Improving engagement betweenmedicines optimisation teams and general practice during a pandemic. Author List: Mistry M, Loague J. Keywords: general practice, primary care networks, engagement, communication, medicines, optimisation, pharmacy, pharmacist. Introduction Effective engagement with general practice is key for medicines optimisation (MO) teams to support the delivery of the prescribing agenda i.e. to deliver safe, clinically effective and cost-effective medicines, while improving health outcomes. Typically, Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) medicines optimisation teams (sometimes referred to as medicines management teams) spend a significant portion of their time undertaking regular and strong engagement with key contacts within practices, building trust to support prescribing change. Often, MO services are undertaken directly within general practice making it easy to build relationships with key individuals. The establishment of Primary Care Networks (PCN) in 2019 has led to changes in the roles and responsibilities of the general practice workforce, meaning existing contacts are often no longer appropriate. This engagement challenge was further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the NHS, including practices and PCNs, enacting business continuity plans and reprioritising workstreams and workforces at pace. In line with national guidance, there was an increase in remote working, face-to-face patient contact moved to virtual or telephone appointments, some staff were reassigned to support local trusts and many were reassigned to delivering the largest vaccination programme in the NHS’s history. Alongside this, MO teams were facing additional challenges in setting up remote working, reprioritising or even pausing business as usual workplan delivery and retraining staff to support the frontline efforts. Consequently, MO teams have had to adapt their approach to engaging with practices and this article describes some of the methods the MO team within NHS Arden and Greater East Midlands CSU has adopted during the pandemic. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on engagement Medicines optimisation teams have typically been successful in their engagement with general practice. This is because MO teams have been able to build strong working relationships with practice managers, GPs and the wider practice team. MO teams have been seen to provide a valuable service through audit and actively supporting safe and cost-effective prescribing 25