10 October 2022

Today BSR has launched a campaign calling for a Parliamentary investigation into the Homecare Medicine Delivery Service.

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Homecare medicine delivery services are funded by pharmaceutical manufacturers or the NHS and are delivered by private companies. These companies are responsible for the delivery of essential medications to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and a wide array of other Rheumatology conditions.

Having medicines delivered and managed with patients at home can reduce the pressures felt by already stretched NHS Rheumatology teams and should provide timely and essential medications to patients directly, reducing their need to visit secondary health care settings, such as hospital outpatient facilities.

However, BSR members have been reporting issues with the performance of the system for some time with Clinical teams across England and Scotland reporting significant delays for new patients and delayed doses for those already using the service. Temporary performance measures put in place by the NHS on service providers have failed to resolve these issues and BSR members continue to highlight the impact these problems are having for patients and NHS services.

BSR Member and Clinical Consultant Dr Elizabeth MacPhie said “Problems in the Homecare medicine service are leading to delays in patients starting new medications and interruptions for patients already on treatment. This can lead to flares of their arthritis and we know that inflammation can lead to irreversible joint damage.”

“These problems are resulting in many queries to our advice line and more work for our already stretched rheumatology team. Our clinical community are hugely frustrated by the ongoing situation and the impact it is having on patient care and rheumatology services.”

BSR CEO Ali Rivett added “As a society we are deeply concerned by the on-going issues in the Homecare Medicine Delivery Service. BSR members are reporting an unacceptable number of their patients are experiencing delays or missed doses because of faults with the service. We are calling on politicians across England and Scotland to intervene on this issue and immediately begin Parliamentary scrutiny of these contracts and the delivery of the system as a whole.” 

BSR has today launched its campaign calling for politicians in England and Scotland to investigate the underperformance of the Homecare Medicine Delivery Service and put in place measures which will ensure a good service for all who need it.