The NHS in Liverpool is changing the way that repeat prescriptions are ordered.
As a result people will no longer be able to use a third party, such as a high street or internet pharmacy to order repeat prescriptions on their behalf.
Instead they will need to order repeat prescriptions direct from their GP themselves – either in person at their practice, via GP online services, or by post. Those who already order repeat prescriptions straight from their GP will not be affected.
This change will only affect the way that repeat prescriptions can be ordered; people will still be able to collect their repeat prescription from their chosen pharmacy as normal.
The scheme, which is designed to improve patient safety and reduce medicines waste, has already been trialed in nine GP practices in south Liverpool. It will now be extended to all of the city’s practices during summer 2018.
GPs are writing to all registered patients who could be affected by this change, and GPs and pharmacists are working together to identify any vulnerable patients in order that special arrangements can be made to ensure they are supported to order their medication.
Dr Jamie Hampson, a GP at Fulwood Green Medical Centre in south Liverpool, said:
“When repeat prescriptions are ordered on a patient’s behalf they sometimes receive medicines which they no longer need to take. Letting unnecessary items build up at home is a safety issue because medicine should be stored correctly and used within a certain time.
“We know that some people might find the change more inconvenient at first, but this is an important opportunity to improve patient safety and ensure that we don’t waste precious NHS resources.”
As well as enabling safer prescribing systems, making this change could save the local NHS a significant amount of money. It is estimated that over-ordering of medication currently costs the NHS in Liverpool around £2.5 million per year.
This equates to around 408 extra hip replacements, 378 extra knee replacements, 165 extra drug treatment courses for breast cancer, or 19,250 extra outpatient appointments per year.
Matt Harvey, Chief Officer from Liverpool Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC) said:
“By not ordering prescriptions on behalf of patients, valuable time can be freed up for pharmacists that can be better spent in helping patients get the most out of their medicines.”
If patients have any questions or concerns about this change, either for themselves or on behalf of another family member, they should contact their GP practice in the first instance.
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