Harnessing global expertise to bring healthcare closer to the patient

Ruth Poole, speciality director at McKesson UK, spoke last week at the healthcare company’s annual event for medicines’ manufacturers about how global expertise is being harnessed to bring care closer to the patient.

She says:

It is no secret that the NHS is under increasing pressure and all healthcare providers are facing ever-tighter budgets. The ageing and growing population alone could mean that another 17,000 beds are needed by 2021.

We’re also living in a world where consumers are demanding more and expecting flexibility. People want to be able to buy what they want when they want it, and for it to be delivered to wherever is convenient for them. Equally, patients don’t want to hang around for treatments, they want it at a time and place that suits them.

The challenge for healthcare providers is how to respond to this…

Thinking differently has enabled us to develop new solutions; we are opening LloydsPharmacy healthcare centres in our pharmacies that support hospitals to deliver treatments in their local communities. This means more patients can collect their specialised medication, as well as receive more complex nurse-led infusions and injection treatments from their community pharmacy. More choice and flexibility for the patient; capacity created for hospitals.

Our two new clinical call centres are giving direct support to patients with programmes that help improve knowledge of their condition and help them to remember when and how to take medication. Better adherence can lead to improved outcomes and quality of life for patients and can also prevent costly emergency admissions to hospital.

Over 81,000 patients now benefit from our clinical homecare services. People’s needs have changed dramatically over the years and patients want the ability to choose where they receive their treatment, be that at home, at work or at their local pharmacy. Over 100 of our pharmacies now offer speciality services, such as treatments for multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, where patients can go to their local LloydsPharmacy and have their injection administered by a nurse.

Our in-hospital services are improving the experience for outpatients. We now have over 50 outpatient dispensaries (OPDs) in Trusts across the UK. In a standard hospital pharmacy, outpatients would have to wait average of four hours to get their prescriptions; those who can access our OPDs will have to wait an average of 8-12 minutes. We are looking to have a presence on hospital wards too; we have the capability to manage the stock of medicines on wards which would free up additional time for nursing staff.

I am also really pleased to support a new relationship with Tenovus, the charity started in Wales to support people with a cancer diagnosis, and they are now expanding into England. Tenovus provide a number of services for patients from infrastructure to patient support and advice. We will be working with them to provide the medicines and nursing services on their mobile unit program, encouraging patients to have their treatment closer to home. The units will be in community and neighbourhood locations and will have our specialist LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare nurses and pharmacists on board.

We will continue to offer patients more choice and flexibility on their treatments. We want to lead the way on prevention through our community pharmacies and will continue to partner with the NHS and manufacturers to co-design services and innovations that deliver sustainable healthcare.

We are committed to putting the needs of patients and their families at the centre of what we do, planning services and support around them. By working together, we can shape a positive future of healthcare.