Medicines Optimisation in Care Homes

The Medicines Optimisation in Care Homes (MOCH) service is part of an NHS England funded pilot, which is aligned to the Framework for Enhanced Health in Care Homes and supports practices and Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to develop and provide clinical pharmacy to care homes.

The small team of pharmacy professionals consists of two pharmacists and a pharmacy technician. The team is commissioned by OCCG and employed within the pharmacy directorate of Oxford Health NHS FT. The MOCH team works closely with GPs, care home staff, the Care Home Support Service, practice and PCN pharmacists, the OCCG Medicines Optimisation team, and Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to improve outcomes for individual residents. The team is available to visit care homes whose residents are registered with an Oxfordshire GP.

As part of their role, the MOCH team can;

  • carry out structured medication reviews for care home residents, promoting patient-centred, evidence-based and cost-effective prescribing,
  • provide advice and support to practice / PCN pharmacists who visit care homes and carry out medication reviews for residents as part of their role.
  • reduce waste by supporting care home staff to optimise their ordering process,
  • support care home staff to ensure safe and effective medicines management by reviewing medicines policies and procedures,
  • support care homes to run a ‘medicines re-use scheme’ including approving medicines for re-use for non-nursing, residential homes
  • provide advice, education and training sessions to care home staff on administration and storage of medicines,

The MOCH team is available Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 (excluding bank holidays) and can be contacted via the email:

Good practice guidelines for care homes

These documents, produced by the MOCH team, provide care homes and other healthcare professionals with guidelines based on information from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA) as well as other national organisations. They are not intended to be a substitute for the care homes medicines policies but provide guidance as to what ‘good practice’ looks like.


The MOCH team will respond to medicines queries relating to care homes including clinical questions concerning individual residents, advice about residents with swallowing difficulties, medicines supply problems and questions about ordering processes and storage of medicines etc. Please see below for some communication resources.

Medicines re-use in care home settings

In April 2020 the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for running a medicines re-use scheme in care homes. The scheme allows care homes to safely use medicines which were prescribed and dispensed for one resident, for another resident, once the original recipient no longer needs them. The scheme is only to be used in a medicines supply crisis situation, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The documents below are to support care homes to run a medicines re-use scheme and should be read in conjunction with the SOP from the Department of Health and Social Care.

You can view the following documents:


Vitamin D - free supply of supplements for care home residents

The DHSC is providing a free 4-month supply of vitamin D supplements to care homes for their residents, in recognition that they are unlikely to have obtained sufficient vitamin D from sunlight. The supplements are due to arrive automatically in February 2021. Whilst all care home residents are eligible to receive the supplements, not all residents are suitable due to their current medication or medical conditions. The DHSC has issued guidance but, in addition, the MOCH team has provided the documents listed below. The guidance for care homes includes a risk assessment tool and there is also some labelling advice. If care homes require support from GPs to complete the risk assessment, there is a sample letter for GPs which can be adapted for use.

You can view the following documents: