Medicines support for patients

This page brings together links to useful sources of medicines support for patients. While this is not and cannot be an exhaustive list, we hope that it will be a useful reference resource for PrescQIPP authors, subscribers, patient groups and other stakeholders.

Enabling patients to get help with their medicines is essential for medicines optimisation.

Please submit suggestions for additional links by contacting us.

Patient information and health literacy

Patient rights

The NHS Constitution clearly sets out the rights that patients have when using the NHS.

Community pharmacists

  • Community Pharmacists are trained experts in the use of medicines. They can advise patients on the safe use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. 
  • The New Medicines Service (NMS) is a free service for patients in England who have been prescribed a new medicine for a number of long-term conditions. The conditions are: asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); type 2 diabetes; high blood pressure and people who have been given a new blood-thinning medicine. Patients have an initial consultation and two follow up appointments with a pharmacist to talk about their new medicine and ensure that there are no problems with taking them. Patients can talk to their community pharmacist about the New Medicines Service. 
  • A Medicines Use Review (MUR) is a free service for patients in the UK who are prescribed medicines by their doctor on a regular basis. It is an opportunity to discuss their medicines with a pharmacist, to understand how they should be used and why they have been prescribed, and to resolve any problems they may have. Patients can talk to their community pharmacist about a Medicines Use Review.

Patient forums

There are a number of online forums which enable patients to connect with one another, share their experiences, and ask and answer questions.

  • healthtalk.org has a range of videos featuring patients and their families sharing stories about their conditions. The site links to a range of practical sources of support.
  • youthhealthtalk.org is especially for young people to share their experiences.
  • patient.info hosts thousands of patient discussion forums.
  • HealthUnlocked is a health specific social network that enables users to connect with others going through the same thing as them. It hosts over 500 specialised communities where users can find advice, support or simply chat.

Apps and decision aids

  • The NHS health app library showcases apps that help patients to manage their health and interact online with health services.They include apps for: medicines management; pain management; wellbeing, exercise; diet; sleep; mood trackers; communication aids; and apps for specific conditions.
  • NHS Decision Aids are specially designed information resources that help people make decisions about difficult healthcare options. They are available for a large range of conditions. Decision aid apps for mobile phones are also available.
  • Brief Decision Aids developed by Newcastle MAGIC team are another tool deveoped for patients with a range of conditions.
  • Option grids are tools made to help patients and providers to compare alternative treatment options.

Charities and voluntary sector organisations

There are a huge range of voluntary sector organisations offering information and support services for patients and carers. These include organisations that deal with specific conditions, provide support on a range of conditions under a health area such as mental health, and/or cater to particular patient groups such as children, or elderly people.

You can find links to relevant organisations from the right hand side of pages about specific conditions and medicines on the NHS Choices website.

Visit our stakeholder page for voluntary sector organisations for more information about how we aim to work together.

Safe disposal of medicines

Unopened, unused and out-of-date medicines should be returned to pharmacies for safe disposal. Once medicines have left the pharmacy, they cannot be recycled or re-used by anyone else. Inhalers are recyclable at participating pharmacies.

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