House of Lords Public Services Committee recommends Government review of Homecare Medicine Services following our year long campaign

Published 16 November 2023

Over the last year, we have been working closely with the British Society of Rheumatology (BSR), the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) and other patient charities to call for a full-scale Government review of homecare medicine services. Today, the House of Lords Public Services Committee has echoed our recommendation following their five month inquiry.  

Earlier this year, we gave evidence to the House of Lords Public Services Committee’s inquiry into homecare medicine services. During the evidence session we shared our survey findings and your stories and warned the committee of the deep, systemic and long-standing failures of these services which put your care at risk and adds pressure on an already stretched IBD workforce.  

The long awaited findings from the inquiry have concluded that the current homecare system is unnecessarily complex and lacks transparency, regulation and enforcement. The committee were also deeply concerned by the lack of ownership of these services not only to drive improvements but to realise their full potential.   

The main recommendations from the report include:  

  1. A full-scale independent review, established and funded by the Government, into the homecare system.  
  2. NHS England to designate a senior, named person with responsibility for the homecare system.  
  3. NHS England to identify how many patients have become unwell or have been harmed because of failures in homecare services. 
  4. The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to review the regulation for homecare medicines services and identify a lead regulator to take action when providers are underperforming.   
  5. NHS England to develop and implement one consistent set of performance metrics. The Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England should ensure that these metrics are published regularly in a consistent, standardised form to ensure meaningful public scrutiny. 
  6. Improvement of the patient recourse and complaints systems through the initiation of a thematic review of homecare by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 
  7. Urgent development of an Electronic Prescription Systems for homecare providers to use, developed in collaboration with NHS trusts. 
  8. Government to make a ministerial statement on the [report’s] findings and proposed actions for NHS England's work on homecare by the end of the year.  

We are delighted that the inquiry report has considered and endorsed many of our own recommendations. Ruth Wakeman, our Director of Services, Advocacy & Evidence had this to say:   

We have long been calling for a full review of Homecare Medicines Delivery services. Today’s report from the Public Services Committee is an important step forward in improving the accountability and quality of homecare medicines services.  

Patients have told us of the great distress and harm caused by the poor quality of their homecare delivery service. We have even heard of cases where people have needed emergency hospital treatment as a result. 

 We urge the Government to take forward the recommendations from this report in full. This is necessary to ensure patients receive the quality service they deserve, which enables them to live full lives despite their condition. 

Responding to the recommendations, Christian Selinger, Chair of the British Society for Gastroenterology IBD Section said:  

The whole point of homecare is to help patients become more independent. When it works, it works really well. But, as I told the Committee, too often it doesn’t work. Delays in deliveries and treatments have a huge knock-on effect. Either the patients suffer because they don’t get the vital medicines they need, or doctors and nurses have to step in and mitigate, putting further pressure on the NHS. We end up providing services that the homecare companies are being paid for. 

I’m delighted that the Public Services Committee is calling for a full review of homecare medicines companies. Once there is tighter regulation, more transparency and greater accountability across the board, patients will start to get the service they deserve.

We could not have done this without you 

We are so grateful to the hundreds of you who completed our survey and got in touch to share your experiences of homecare medicine services. It is this overwhelming evidence that led the committee to launch this inquiry.  

Next steps 

We will continue to work with the BSR, the BSG and other patient charities to ensure that the recommendations from the inquiry are taken forward by the Department for Health and Social Care and NHS England. We are also working closely with the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland on their review of homecare medicine services. We will keep you updated on progress as it unfolds.  


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