If you're prescribed a medicine to treat a long-term condition for the first time, you may be able to get extra help and advice about your medicine from your local pharmacist through a free scheme called the New Medicine Service (NMS).
People often have problems when they start a new medicine. As part of the scheme, the pharmacist will support you over several weeks to use the medicine safely and to best effect.
The service is only available to people using certain medicines. In some cases where there's a problem and a solution cannot be found between you and the pharmacist, you'll be referred back to your doctor.
Who is eligible
The New Medicine Service is only available for people living in England who have been prescribed a new medicine for these conditions:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- Parkinson’s disease
- urinary incontinence or retention
- heart failure
- coronary heart disease
- atrial fibrillation
- unstable angina or heart attack
- stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- long-term risk of blot clots or blocked blood vessels, including DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
How do I join the scheme?
When you take your new prescription to your local pharmacy, ask the pharmacist if you can take part in the New Medicine Service.
Recent COVID-19 restrictions may have made it difficult to speak to a pharmacist about the New Medicine Service. If you still need help or advice about your medicine, ask a pharmacist whether you can have a catch-up.
How does the service work?
Start your medicine
You can talk to the pharmacist when you first start taking your medicine and ask any questions you may have about it. For example, you might want to know about side effects or how you can fit your treatment around your lifestyle.
Your second appointment
You'll have a follow-up appointment 2 weeks later, when you and your pharmacist can talk about any issues you might have experienced with the medicine. For example, if you're not taking it regularly or are finding a tablet hard to swallow, your pharmacist can help you get back on track and work with you to find solutions to any issues.
Your third appointment
You will have your last appointment a further 2 weeks later, when you can catch up with your pharmacist again to see how you're getting on. The service then ends, but your pharmacist will always talk to you about your medicines when you need help.
Do I have to talk about my medicines over the counter in the pharmacy?
Any pharmacist providing the New Medicine Service must have a private consultation area. This is a separate room where you cannot be overheard, and most pharmacists have one. All the discussions with your pharmacist can take place in person or by phone.
How long will each appointment take?
The appointments are designed to fit around you, but a typical consultation will take around 10-15 minutes.
Do I have to pay?
No. This service is free through the NHS.