NHS leaders who plan healthcare services for the 204,000 people in Eastern Cheshire have joined forces with local GP practices and pharmacies to encourage people to take charge of ordering their own repeat prescriptions.
Many people already manage their own repeat prescriptions by placing their requests with their GP surgery or ordering them online. However, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging more people to follow suit and do the same, rather than community pharmacies ordering repeat prescriptions on their behalf. The reason the CCG is promoting this change is because experience around the country suggests that it can be safer and reduce medicines waste.
When a pharmacy orders for a patient, especially when ordering in advance, it may not always know if medicines have been changed or how much stock a patient already has. This can sometimes mean that medicines are being ordered that are not needed, which can lead to some patients building up a stockpile of medicines at home.
What is changing?
Many GP practices across Cheshire are no longer accepting repeat prescription requests directly from pharmacies for most patients.
This change will not affect people who already order their own repeat prescriptions from their GP surgery.
The CCG is recommending patients order their own medicines using one of the following options:
- Order online – Register for the Patient Access system that allows you to order your repeat prescription online or with an app on your mobile phone at any time of day. This also provides a convenient way to book appointments at your GP surgery Drop off or post – Use the right-hand side of your repeat prescription to tick the items you need and drop it off at, or post it to, the GP surgery
- Repeat dispensing – Ask if you can take part in “repeat dispensing” at your next routine GP appointment (for more information about repeat dispensing click here for a leaflet).
How will I know if this affects me?
The list below shows the GP practices in Macclesfield that are currently making this change to the way that repeat prescriptions are ordered. Each practice will write to those patients identified as suitable to order their own repeat prescription.
- Broken Cross Surgery, Macclesfield
- Cumberland House Surgery, Macclesfield
- High Street Surgery,Macclesfield
- Park Green Surgery, Macclesfield
- Park Lane Surgery, Macclesfield
- South Park Surgery, Macclesfield
Dr Mark Dickinson, the CCG head of prescribing and medicines optimisation, said: “We believe that patients are best placed to know of any changes that have been made to their medicines by their doctor, and what medicines they have used in the past month, and can therefore order what they need.
“We expect that patients taking control of the medicines they order will improve safety and also reduce medicines waste at a time of significant financial pressure for the NHS.”
What you can do to help
Here are a few things that you can do to support this scheme:
- Order your own prescriptions through your GP surgery and only order what you need
- If you get your medicines delivered by a pharmacy, check them on arrival and ask the delivery driver to take back anything that is not needed
- Let your doctor know if you no longer require any prescription items so that they can be taken off your repeat prescription.
- Attend review appointments with your pharmacist or doctor to see if your medicines list is still up to date and meeting your needs
Your local community pharmacist will continue to offer you support and advice about your medicines and prescription. Additionally they can give you hints and tips on how you can self-care. While most practices will no longer be receiving repeat prescription requests directly from a community pharmacy, pharmacies can still support patients by:
- Collecting repeat prescriptions or receiving them electronically from the surgery for dispensing
- Providing a delivery service for medicines and other items when appropriate
- Offer advice and, if necessary, prescribe medication to treat the certain conditions under the Minor Ailments Service. These include cystitis and conjunctivitis.
If you feel that you or someone you know won’t be able to manage with this change, please contact your GP surgery for advice.
For more information
Click here for a poster that explains how to order your repeat prescription and here for a leaflet that attempts to answer your questions.