Guidance on assistive technologies

Guidance on assistive technologies

August 1, 2018

We thought that all contractors might find the following information about assistive technologies, and their implications for pharmacies, useful. (The term ‘assistive technologies’ includes automated pill dispensers as well as multi-compartmental compliance aids.)

We are issuing this guidance because the issue of how to improve outcomes for people who have difficulty taking their medicines has come up in some recent discussions with local commissioners. One or two areas are now actively exploring the potential for greater use of automated aids, and we are explaining the issues involved to them, as well as the importance of robust clinical governance, and the need for pharmacies to make their own clinical decisions about whether or not a particular device is appropriate.

Guidance for Greater Manchester LPC contractors & their pharmacies

  1. If a patient is having difficulty taking their medicines, there should be discussion between prescribers, dispensers and patients (and/or carers) to explore what will work best for that patient. It may be a change of dose/frequency, reminder charts, the introduction of a device or a whole host of other solutions.
  2. Contractors should make their own judgements as to whether it is clinically appropriate for them to fill devices for a patient, and whether they believe the work is remunerated through the standards NHS dispensing contract or another locally-commissioned service. Pharmacies should never feel pressurised into filling a device where they believe it is inappropriate, or where they have concerns about safety.
  3. Contractors are reminded that, under the terms of the NHS contract, they must base the choice of device on their own clinical judgement and the situation of their patient falling under the equality act, not a third-party recommendation. There is no necessity under the NHS contract to provide a device for a patient who does not have needs covered by the equality act or to make it easier where a paid carer is employed.
  4. Standard pharmacy insurance may not cover some assistive technologies (e.g. automated pill dispensers). Please check with your insurance company or, for branches of multiple pharmacies, with your head office. Please ensure your insurance company is fully aware of the steps for filling any devices as well as the final setup in the patient’s home.
  5. We would strongly advise all contractors to read the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s excellent guidance on the use of multi-compartmental compliance aids.

We hope you find this information useful. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to email us on or call us on 0161 228 6163.

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