19 March 2024

BSR and SSR (Scottish Society for Rheumatology) members are playing a critical role in shaping the future of Homecare Medicines Services in Scotland after the Scottish government launched a full-scale review of how the services are commissioned and delivered.

The decision to review these services came in response to growing concerns raised by the rheumatology community regarding the safety and reliability of homecare medicines services. The initiative by the Scottish government aims to address these performance and safety concerns as well as address issues with associated care to patients.

Sarah Berry, Public Affairs Manager at BSR said, "It's been fantastic to work with Professor Munro, Ellen Forde, and Pamela Everitt to ensure that the voices of the rheumatology MDT are represented in our discussions with the Scottish Government."

Led by Banjamin Hannan, Director of Pharmacy for NHS Fife, the review began in the Summer of 2023 and has to date considered a call for evidence, the establishment of a Reference Group or 'critical friend' to help guide Mr Hannan, and several rounds of potential recommendations. The reference group, comprising of commissioners, NHS leaders, a patient organisation, and representation from BSR convened three times to deliberate various aspects of homecare services, including performance management, procurement, digital infrastructure, and supply models.

The Review Lead is currently finalising their recommendations which are to be presented to the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer Professor Alison Strath. Professor Strath will then consider the findings and proposals outlined in Mr Hannan's report and announce how they will be implemented.

Throughout the process, close collaboration between BSR and the SSR ensured that the experiences and expertise of members directly influenced discussions. BSR further leveraged evidence collected from its members to craft a comprehensive consultation response, enriching and strengthening the clinical voice in this collaborative process.

Professor Robin Munro, Consultant Rheumatologist and Visiting Professor, University of Strathclyde said,
"Working together the SSR and BSR have ensured there has been a strong rheumatology presence in the Scottish Homecare Medicines Review. The clinical and patient experience is well represented along with the expertise gained from involvement in the wider UK review."

It is anticipated that the Scottish Government will publish its final recommendations in Spring 2024.

Scottish Government's submission to the House of Lords Public Services Committee inquiry on homecare.