9. Discharge Medicines Service

Updated 01/06/2023

The Discharge Medicines Service (DMS) became a new Essential service within the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) on 15th February 2021. This service, which all pharmacy contractors have to provide, was originally trailed in the 5-year CPCF agreement, with a formal announcement regarding the service made by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in February 2020. From 15th February 2021, NHS Trusts were able to refer patients who would benefit from extra guidance around prescribed medicines for provision of the DMS at their community pharmacy. The service has been identified by NHS England’s Medicines Safety Improvement Programme to be a significant contributor to the safety of patients at transitions of care, by reducing readmissions to hospital.

The service aims 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.

***Community Pharmacy Lincolnshire are working closely with the NHS Trusts in the county to support discharge referrals for this service. Currently, only Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust and Lincolnshire Community Hospitals Trust are able to refer patients for DMS. United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) are in the process of embedding an electronic system of referral, so are not yet sending DMS over to community pharmacies. However, all contractors should be prepared to deliver the service as referrals may come from hospitals outside of Lincolnshire borders.***

We continue to work with the ICS and ULHT to facilitate roll out more widely across the county.  We will keep you advised of progress in this area.  It is anticipated that ULHT will start using an electronic DMS referral mechanism during the financial year April 2023 –  March 2024.

More information and support is available on Community Pharmacy England’s website here:

Discharge Medicines Service – Community Pharmacy England (cpe.org.uk)