Discharge Medicines Service (England)

On 20th October 2020 changes were introduced to the Terms of Service for pharmacy contractors including the contractual requirements for the Discharge Medicines Service (DMS). Being a new essential service within the NHSE community pharmacy contract, which all pharmacies in England MUST provide from 15th February 2021. 

What is the role of the DMS? 

Discharge from hospital is associated with an increased risk of avoidable medication related harm and inline with NICE recommendation, the DMS supports a medicines reconciliation process, for patients being discharged from hospital, back into primary care.  

The Service 

Consists of 3 stages 

  Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
Completed  As soon as possible on receipt of referral . But must be completed within 72hrs of receipt  On receipt of 1st prescription following patient's discharge  On dispensing of the 1st prescription 
Action  Reconcile discharge medicines with those taken before admission and resolve any issues identified  Check prescription reflects any changes made during hospital admission. Conduct a confidential conversation with patient/carer to ensure they understand how/when/why they are taking their medicines 


A setup fee of £400 
On completion of all 3 stages, a payment of  £35
In certain circumstances when all 3 stages cannot be completed, partial payment may be made

Details of partial payments are available in Part VIA of the Drug Tariff .

Who can have a DMS?

NHS Trusts will be able to refer patients that they feel would benefit from extra support to help them understand their medicines regime, after a discharge from a hospital.  

How do I start?

As a minimum all Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians providing the service must

  1. Read the section on DMS within the NHSE&I guidance on the regulations
  2. Read the NHSE&I DMS toolkit
  3. Once completed appropriate learning related to the service - complete the DMS Declaration of Competence (DoC)and provide a copy of that to the pharmacy contractor. 

It is recommended that Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians, also complete the CPPE NHS DMS eLearning and assessment to support learning requirements 

Download Discharge Medicines Service SOP

How to offer a successful service

  • Talk to your LPC or local NHSE&I - To identify Trust already referring patient and IT system being used to make referrals
  • Brief staff on the service and agree process to identify in a timely manner, when referrals received
  • Have a clear process to flag patients for Stage 2/3 of the service
  • Ensure you claim monthly for all completed DMS through MYS  (no later than 5th day of the month following that in which the NHS DMS was completed ).

Further resources

PSNC Discharge Medicines Service

ProScript Connect - Recording DMS

Download DMS contractor checklist

Download key contacts template