Spirit Health x HSJ ICS Medicines Forum

Our thoughts on key topics of the day

By on November 17, 2022

Spirit Health attended the HSJ Medicines Forum in October, a specialist event bringing together senior leaders responsible for establishing the new medicines and prescribing operating framework across the ICS.







As one of the first events of its kind, the day was jampacked full of free-flowing conversations around shared accountability, data importance, patient-centred decision making and collaboration. The high-profile panellist discussions and specialist roundtables explored how we can collectively optimise value and deliver successful patient outcomes within the new environment.

We’ve listed our top three key takeaways from the day impacting medicines optimisation teams nationally.

Data, data…data?

The importance of data analysis is paramount when trying to paint a picture of healthcare performance, but what happens when that data is unreliable and time-consuming to dissect? This was highlighted throughout the day by various senior ICS stakeholders across England. Their teams face analysis paralysis continually when it comes to putting the figures together to reflect regional performance.

Increased data fluency, standardisation and automation can positively accelerate optimisation programs. However, for the above reasons, we see a bottleneck at the beginning of processes, as data analysis is proving increasingly time-consuming.

This is a problem we have heard from many of our NHS colleagues this year, which has led us to develop Spirit Evalua. Evalua, is an online data analysis tool built specifically for medicines optimisation teams to quickly and confidently access and analysis the datasets relevant to them.

Unlocking resource – Are pharmacists the missing link?

Resource capacity is an inherited issue from the previous CCG format. With the dust settling on the ICS structure, it is apparent that the pharmacist function can play a pivotal role in filling gaps across the full workflow.

From ICS and ICB structures to Place, PCN and practice level, pharmacists could provide a consistent link throughout; their placement within Primary, Secondary and Community care also represents significant value.

When the new agendas are set, and the work plans are agreed upon to tackle medicines optimisation priorities, we think we’ll see renewed importance set on the pharmacist role.

We predict that practice pharmacy will evolve into a much more hybrid role to support resource gaps across different sectors of pharmacy. Whilst recognisably, this is not the fix-all solution for all resource issues, it is a viable option to fill a portion of the gap to ease future processes.

Health inequalities, is the gap just getting bigger?

“Realistically, the current economic climate will play a large role in increased health inequalities as budgets will be further squeezed. Addressing this should be high on ICS agendas as medicines optimisation is a sustainable way of injecting money back into the NHS.

– Duncan Richardson, Managing Director of Medicines Optimisation here at Spirit Health

Within the new ICS structure, there are now more ‘Places’ (formally known as CCGs) which are to be collectively governed by one main body. This will bring together increased knowledge and experience in tackling population health management.

Commonly the current situation reflects that teams are still transitioning and settling into their new roles. Multiple lines of command and priority sets are yet to be organised and consolidated alongside ICS agendas.

As this Is one of the key topics from the event, the consensus was that it needs to be assessed 18 months from now to obtain an accurate reflection on the issue.

Continue the conversation with us

Now it’s your turn, we have partnered with HSJ to host a follow-up webinar on the forum, which is open to everyone within the medicines optimisation landscape. There was much to talk about on the day, and a lot of the topics and themes were not addressed.

Make sure you clear your diary and submit your questions, as we want to hear what you have to say.

Register your interest now, and submit your details here.


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