Pharmacy Voice: Lift MUR cap to support elderly patients

Rob Darracott: Regular MURs could save health service "tens of millions of pounds"
GPs should "actively encourage" over-75s to use community pharmacy medicines management services, says Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott

Pharmacy Voice has called for the cap on medicines use reviews (MURs) to be lifted to increase support for elderly patients.

All patients aged over 75 on four or more medicines should have access to an MUR “every six months and immediately after hospital discharge”, the lobbying group said in a white paper published today (November 2). 

To enable this, the annual MUR cap of 400 per pharmacy should be reviewed and GPs should raise patients’ awareness of the service, it stressed.

A Pharmacy Voice-commissioned survey of 200 English GPs, conducted by research company MedeConnect last month, suggested that 92% of the profession would like greater support from pharmacy teams to “help older people take their medicines correctly”, it said.

The survey also revealed that 82% of GPs believe their patients would benefit from more advice about medicines use, while a similar percentage feel community pharmacy “should play a central role in managing the health of the elderly”, Pharmacy Voice said.

Next phase of Dispensing Health campaign

The white paper marks the beginning of the second phase of Pharmacy Voice’s Dispensing Health campaign, which launched in 2014 as way to highlight the sector’s medicines management role.

This phase is intended to “look at how community pharmacy services can be deployed at different life stages, starting with later life”, the organisation said.

Pharmacy Voice chief executive Rob Darracott said conducting MURs every six months can have a “significant impact on the quality of people’s lives, reduce hospital admissions and deliver significant savings to the NHS”.

“If regular [medicines] reviews achieved just one fewer prescription per person per year, this could deliver tens of millions of pounds back to the [health] service,” he said.

Pharmacy Voice wants to see “GPs actively encouraging older people to access their community pharmacy to help with their medicines management”, he added. 


Would your pharmacy be able to deliver more than 400 MURs a year? 

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Concerned pharmacist, Community pharmacist

No! The target culture is already driving us to despair. Don't make it worse.


Niall Murray, Superintendent

The principle & only the principle of this is good here. MURs only gauge is the numbers conducted. No-one BUT no-one has reviewed or currently reviews the quality & standard of MURs.Therefore, there is no point in seeking numbers cap exemption until our profession establishes a proper standard for MURs that is developed at the coalface & creates a diffusion of communication. All practising pharmacists should be appalled by the way our profession is operated.So let's get back to vaccinating anyone with a pulse and delivering services that anyone can do and please no clinical discussion whatsoever. Cui bono?

Chris Locum, Locum pharmacist

Many pharmacists are appalled....because they are no longer in a profession in any sense of the word. The only way to change it is to focus on the top of these organisations. Pharmacists' futures used to be in their own hands - until the relentless economy drive and RP regs etc eliminated this . As you can see GPhC wants to look at any potential action against P2U employees, and I seriously doubt they came up with a profit sharing initiative for selling data. Cui bono? Not John or Jane pharmacist on the treadmill with ever increasing workload and constant under-staffing . There will be more scandals to come simply because the root cause is not being tackled.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Mr Murray, to use the word 'profession' when referring to pharmacy is an insult to professions. HOw can you take it seriously when a kid in McDonalds earns as much or more as a pharmacist and in better work conditions. As a superintendent you'll be well aware of the bs in community pharmacy. MURs are a simple chase to 400. And most people on here know quality doesn't even come in to it. WE can all continue to lie to ourselves and the doomed graduates of tomorrow but the chickens are now all coming home to roost. The few at the top benefiting from all of this don't give a hoot as long the money keeps rolling in.

Simon MEDLEY, Community pharmacist

imagine the pressure from head offices !

Grumpy Pharm, Community pharmacist

With the gradual move more and more to targeted MURs within set criteria, even as loose criteria as Mr darracott says, if we were to go 100% targeted on criteria agreed by the profession then the justification to remove the cap should be clear. That also removes some of the "tick box for £28" argument and could, with govt backing, let some of the funds come from joint public health funds which could counter the "turkeys voting for xmas" financial fair point?

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

MURs are sponsored fraud. Clinically useless. Tick a box for $28.

Ana-Maria Rees, Community pharmacist


Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Great idea! Just wondering where we will lose money in order to pay for it?

Syd Bashford, Community pharmacist

That comes from reducing the number of items we get to dispense. They would pay us to cut our own income....

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