Two experienced nursing staff at a Solihull care home who trained as Non-medical Prescribers (NMPs) are now able to prescribe medication for residents.
The NMP service being rolled out at Royal Star & Garter will further improve the outstanding care it provides, while easing the burden on primary care providers in the area, and saving NHS costs.
Lead Nurses Heni Glover and Yuriy Bukovych will, in certain circumstances, assess and prescribe medication to unwell residents after Royal Star & Garter covered the costs of their Prescribing in Clinical Practice Level 7 courses.
Royal Star & Garter is a charity which provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia. Its Solihull Home was rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and listed as one of the best nursing homes in the country, at its last inspection.
While non-medical prescribing is becoming a more recognised approach to improving patient outcomes in the NHS, Royal Star & Garter – Solihull is amongst the first care homes in the country to offer the service.
The National Care Forum (NCF) praised “the dedicated support from Royal Star & Garter”, saying the investment in NMPs would lead to improved care for its residents.
The ability to prescribe in-house means the Home is able to provide a rapid on-site response to residents’ health needs, obtaining their medication within hours. Care home staff know their residents well and can quickly spot a decline in wellbeing. The intervention of NMPs allows an illness to be treated promptly, while reducing the number of GP call-outs or appointments. The speedy treatment also means there is less chance of a resident’s condition deteriorating to such an extent that they require a hospital admission.
Heni and Yuriy started prescribing medication in May, just as NHS England unveiled plans to reduce busy GPs’ workloads by using high-street pharmacies for some common prescription drugs and routine tests.
The pair will be able to issue medications from an approved formulary, or list of prescribable items.
‘I’m proud to be an NMP’
Yuriy said: “Royal Star & Garter recognised the delays in primary care and has acted on it. Having NMPs in the Home increases the convenience and speed with which residents receive their medication. The course was tough, but you don’t get permission to grant prescriptions lightly! I’m proud to be an NMP, and I’m grateful that the charity paid for the course and supported this.”
Heni said: “We know our residents very well and can quickly spot if they are in poor health and visibly deteriorating. Now we will be able to assess them at an early stage to ensure that they are provided with timely treatment. Royal Star & Garter is very forward-thinking, and always looking at innovative ways to improve its care. This is definitely one of them.”
Royal Star & Garter intends to train new NMPs at its two other Homes, in Surbiton and High Wycombe.
Royal Star & Garter is a member of the NCF, which represents the not-for-profit social care sector, and has been calling for Non-medical Prescribers in care homes. NCF Policy Director Liz Jones said: “It is fantastic to see Royal Star & Garter is announcing its very first qualified Non-medical Prescribers. As a long-established veterans’ care charity with a passion for innovation, this is its first step in having prescribers in all of its care home settings, all of whom will have been supported with the cost and time needed to achieve this expertise.”
‘It’s a win for everyone’
Royal Star & Garter’s Director of Care, Pauline Shaw, said: “I can’t stress how exciting and pioneering it is in a care home environment. Residents can now receive prescribed medication quickly, without involving GPs, therefore reducing their workload. This prompt treatment will reduce the risk of residents’ illnesses worsening, and a subsequent distressing admission to hospital. So we believe the NMPs will ease pressure on our local GP service, and generate significant cost savings for the NHS – all while improving the care our residents receive. It’s a win for everyone.”
Royal Star & Garter in Solihull is welcoming new residents. For more information on this, or to work at the Home, go to www.starandgarter.org/solihull