If you are a patient with a long-term condition and have been prescribed a medicine for the first time, you may be eligible for extra help and advice about your medicine from your pharmacist via a free NHS scheme called the New Medicine Service (NMS)
The New Medicines Service (NMS) aims to support you in the early days of taking a new medicine. As part of the NMS scheme, the pharmacist will support you over several weeks to use the medicine safely and to best effect.
The service is only available to people using certain medicines. In some cases where there’s a problem and a solution can’t be found between you and the pharmacist, you’ll be referred back to your doctor.
Am I eligible?
The service is only available for people living in England, and only for those who have been prescribed a new medicine for the following conditions:
✚ Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
✚ Type 2 diabetes
✚ High blood pressure
✚ People who have been given a new blood-thinning medicine
When you take your new prescription to your local pharmacy, ask the pharmacist if you can take part in the service.
How does the service work?
You can talk to the pharmacist when you first start taking your medicine and ask any questions you may have about it. For example, you might want to know about side effects or how you can fit your treatment around your lifestyle.
You’ll have a follow-up appointment two weeks later, when you and your pharmacist can talk about any issues you might have experienced with the medicine. For example, if you’re not taking it regularly or are finding a tablet hard to swallow, your pharmacist can help you get back on track and work with you to find solutions to any issues.
You will have your last appointment a further two weeks later, when you can catch up with your pharmacist again to see how you’re getting on. The service then ends, but your pharmacist will always talk to you about your medicines when you need help.
Any pharmacist providing the New Medicine Service must have a consultation area. This is a separate room where you can’t be overheard, and most pharmacists have one. All the discussions with your pharmacist can take place in person or by phone.
Why do I need to give consent?
In order to receive the New Medicine Service, you will be asked to give your consent for your pharmacist to share information from your New Medicine Service discussions with:
✚ Your GP, if necessary (for example if they need to change your medicine because you are having a problem with it).
✚ Your local NHS to make sure that the service is being provided properly by your pharmacist.
✚ The NHS Business Services Authority to make sure your pharmacy is being paid the correct amount by the NHS for the service they have provided you.
If you do not give your consent, you will not be able to use the service. However, when you first receive your medicines your pharmacist will still give you advice about them.
Ways to prepare for your discussions with your pharmacist:
✚ Read the leaflet that comes with your new medicine
✚ Make a note of questions you want to ask about your new medicine
✚ Make a note of any concerns about your new medicine that you may want to discuss with your pharmacist
✚ Bring your new medicine to the meeting with your pharmacist
What happens after the NMS discussions?
✚ Everything may be okay with your new medicine and nothing else will need to happen.
✚ If you have had problems with the medicine, you may agree with your pharmacist to change the way you take it.
✚ Your pharmacist may recommend that your doctor reviews your new medicine. If this is needed, your pharmacist will send a note to your doctor explaining the issues raised. You can have a copy of this note.