9. Discharge Medicines Service

Launch of the NHS Discharge Medicines Service

Updated 12/02/2021

The NHS Discharge Medicines Service (DMS) is a new essential service for community pharmacy contractors. Due to the impact of the COVID pandemic on the capacity of contractors, the service will now commence on the 15th February 2020.

***Community Pharmacy Lincolnshire are working closely with the NHS Trusts in the county to support discharge referrals for this service. Currently, only Lincolshire Partnership Foundation Trusy and Lincolnshire Community Hospitals Trust are able to refer patients for DMS. However, all contractors should be prepared to deliver the service from 15th February as referrals may come from hospitals outside of Lincolnshire borders.***

The service has been established to ensure better communication of changes to a patient’s medication when they leave hospital and to reduce incidences of avoidable harm caused by medicines. By referring patients to community pharmacy on discharge with information about medication changes made in hospital, community pharmacy can support patients to improve outcomes, prevent harm and reduce readmissions. The NHS DMS also provides an exciting opportunity for the development of effective team working and improving processes across hospital, community and primary care network pharmacy teams.

All contractors should read the regulations guidance for the DMS service requirements and ensure they are compliant with the prerequisites for service provision. More information on the DMS fees/ payment which contractors can claim for the DMS will be included in the Drug Tariff shortly, however the following has been agreed:

Payment/ Fee Purpose Payment/ Fee
Initial upfront payment for all contractors for set-up costs
  • £400 per contractor
Item of service fee for contractors for provision for each NHS Discharge Medicines Service provision
  • £35 per fully completed service provision
  • Part completion of the service (scenarios where this can be claimed will be specified in Drug Tariff):
  • Stage 1: £12
  • Stage 2: £11
  • Stage 3: £12

A cross-sector toolkit for the NHS DMS has been published on the NHSE&I Discharge Medicines Service webpage to support pharmacy teams across primary and secondary care to provide the service. The toolkit will set out the shared responsibility and roles of pharmacy teams in community pharmacy, NHS trusts and PCNs in ensuring patient safety, better patient outcomes and medicines reconciliation on discharge.

NHS England and NHS Improvement has published guidance on the amendments to the NHS (Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013, which introduced nationally agreed changes to the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework for pharmacy and dispensing appliance contractors. These changes come into force on several dates; 9 November 2020, 1 January 2021, 15 February 2021 and 1 April 2021.

The guidance sets out in detail the requirements contractors must comply with from these different dates, and includes the new NHS Discharge Medicines Service as a requirement for all contractors from 15th February 2021.

Full details of the regulatory changes and the dates from which they come into force can be found in the guidance, which is available here.


Preparing to deliver the Discharge Medicines Service

Training and Team Briefing

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who will provide the service should:


Each pharmacy will also need a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the service, which all staff participating in provision of the service must be familiar with and follow.

Information to be recorded during service provision

For each NHS Discharge Medicines Service provision, pharmacy contractors are required to report a standard dataset through the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) ‘Manage your Service’ (MYS) portal. Pharmacy contractors are required to submit this data monthly for payment, service evaluation and monitoring purposes. The NHS England has published this dataset which can be accessed via the link below:

To help you plan and record completion of the above activities, PSNC have produced checklist which should be completed. A completed copy should be retainedin your pharmacy as evidence of DMS activity completion.

Claims for completing the service will be made through the MYS portal.