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Lords Committee launches new inquiry into homecare medicines services

Friday 9 June 2023

On Wednesday 14 June, the House of Lords Public Services Committee will hold the first evidence session of its new inquiry examining the standards of the services which deliver medical supplies and associated care to people in England. 

Representatives from patient groups and speciality medical groups will give evidence to the Committee in a session starting at 3.15pm which will explore the extent of the problems in homecare medicine services; and the impact on patients, clinicians, and the wider NHS. This issue will also be part of the wider scope of the inquiry.

The Committee will aim to bring clarity and to focus on the levers available to government to ensure the integrity of service delivery. Looking at the standards and indicators available to assess performance, the Committee will also review how far regulators and other enforcement mechanisms are effective in ensuring good service delivery.  

The decision to undertake this inquiry was taken independently by the Committee after shortlisting the topic from a number of proposals for new inquiries which were considered earlier this year. It will be a rapid, short-form inquiry with four evidence sessions and individual stakeholders contacted to provide written evidence.

Baroness Morris of Yardley, Chair of the Public Services Committee, said:

Homecare medicine services deliver medicines and associated care to around half a million people in England. The Government is increasingly focused on how to treat more people out of hospital and look after them in the community. Homecare medicine services could form part of the answer to this, and it is crucial that they - and the system - can be relied upon to give patients the care they need, when they need it.

“We have received feedback that this may not be the case at the moment. There are reports of missed deliveries, delays, and potentially significant health impacts for patients. Our inquiry will seek to examine how far these problems are occurring, and the impact of these problems – both for individuals and the wider NHS.

“The services we will be looking at are private companies, which have a sometimes arms-length relationship with the NHS. We are looking at how they are governed, managed, and how standards are enforced. We will also examine transparency and accountability – someone has to take responsibility for getting this right.”

The evidence session on Wednesday 14 June can be watched live or on demand at Parliament TV or in person in Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster.

Giving evidence will be:

3.15pm

  • Sarah Campbell, Chief Executive, British Society for Rheumatology;
  • Dr Christian Selinger, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Chair of the British Society for Gastroenterology Inflammatory Bowel Disease Section; and
  • Ruth Wakeman, Director of Services, Advocacy and Evidence, Crohn’s & Colitis UK.

Questions will include:

  • Can you briefly outline what homecare medicine services are, and how the process works? 
  • Based on feedback from patients you are in contact with, what is your assessment of the performance of these services? What problems are they encountering, and what are the impacts of this? Are there trends in how different groups of patients experience these services? 
  • How prevalent are these issues; and what has been the trend over time?
  • How effective are complaint, enforcement, and accountability mechanisms? How do they work for patients?
  • What do you see as the key policy areas that we should be looking at in order to try and rectify problems in homecare delivery?

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