The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust uses Sciensus to dispense and deliver some medications to its patients at home, which provides cost savings and frees up colleague capacity. Ellie Carpenter-Clark, a medicines optimisation pharmacy technician at the trust, explains how the service helps her and benefits patients.
I’ve been working with Sciensus for around four and a half years now, using their dispense and delivery service. They deliver vital medications to our patients in a number of therapy areas including dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, paediatrics and rheumatology, plus a few oncology patients.
Sciensus nurses also administer drugs to trust patients at home and train some patients on how to self-administer drugs when they start treatment. The majority of drugs they supply are biologic medications which have to be prescribed by the hospital. These medications cannot be supplied by the patient’s GP and community pharmacy as they are very specialist. By using Sciensus to dispense and deliver medications at home, we can reach many more patients, without people having to come into the hospital to collect prescriptions or have treatments administered in clinics.
We receive the prescriptions in pharmacy from the hospital clinical team, then we clinically screen each one and then send them to Sciensus. Sciensus then conduct a number of safety checks and, if all is in order, they manage their internal dispensary, arrange a delivery to the patient and book in nurses to go out if they are needed. They will also request repeat prescriptions from us on a regular basis.
Using Sciensus benefits us in several ways. It makes patients’ treatments much easier to manage and we have full confidence that Sciensus staff will deliver treatments correctly. Sciensus colleagues also advise us of any patient concerns so we can continue to provide them with the best experience possible.
The service brings efficiencies for the trust in a few areas. If Sciensus nurses can teach the new patients how to self-administer, they’re not having to come into hospital and potentially take up bed space. We’d also need a lot more staff here if our own nurses were having to train all the patients!
We also save on VAT as there is a charge of 20% on all drugs that we dispense to patients. If the drugs are supplied via care at home no VAT is charged, so using Sciensus saves the NHS a large amount of money. A standard monthly treatment for one person can cost into the thousands, so there is a significant saving for us, especially when you consider that Sciensus currently work with 580 patients within the Trust.
Benefits for patients
The service is also great for patients, and we get good feedback from those who are receiving the service from Sciensus.
Patients also tell us that they much prefer to have their medicines delivered to their home so they’re not having to come out to the hospital for them. The Trust covers a wide area so some patients would have the inconvenience of travelling quite a long way to collect prescriptions, attend clinic or receive treatment They can also get continuity of treatment as Sciensus operates across the UK – if they’re on holiday elsewhere in the UK they can still get prescriptions delivered there.
Being able to offer care at home has also made a big difference during the pandemic as it’s saved vulnerable patients from having to come into hospital. We had one patient who didn’t want to wear a mask and of course everyone has to when they come into the hospital. The patient was actually going to stop treatment, but as we were able to arrange Sciensus care for them at home they were able to continue.
From my perspective, working with Sciensus is a very positive experience. We have a great relationship with the local development manager; she’s amazing and always contactable if we need to sort out a problem, and the call assistants are very easy to deal with and keen to help.
I would definitely recommend Sciensus – if I was having treatment myself, I’d want to use their services!