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Changes being made to the way patients can order repeat prescriptions

16th September 2019 | By Liz Mattock | Posted in

Patients in Leicester City will soon be seeing changes to the way that repeat prescriptions can be ordered.

From 30th September 2019, GP practices will begin to ask patients to only order repeat prescriptions through their practice and not through high street or internet pharmacies or appliance contractors, as they might previously have done. This brings the City into line with the rest of Leicestershire and Rutland, where a similar change has previously been made.

Patients who already order repeat prescriptions directly through their GP practice will not be affected; pharmacies and appliance contractors will continue to collect or receive prescriptions, so once patients have placed their order they can simply collect their medication from the pharmacy, as before. Pharmacies may also continue to deliver prescriptions if they offer this service.

The only thing that is changing is that patients will have to order repeat prescriptions themselves. Support is available for any patients or carers who may find this difficult.

Dr Paul Danaher, GP and Prescribing Clinical Lead at Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), explained: “It is up to each GP practice to decide how their patients can order repeat prescriptions, but in Leicester City we are now moving away from pharmacists ordering on behalf of patients, to ensure that excess medicines are not being ordered.

“For most people, being in charge of their own repeat prescriptions means that they will be more aware and knowledgeable about the medicines they are taking, which results in safer use of medicines. It also means that they only get the medicine they need at the time they need it, so that unused or old medicines are less likely to build up at home – this prevents waste and saves valuable NHS resources.”

Estimates suggest that unused or partially used medication costs the NHS £300million each year, a figure which could pay for over 11,000 more community nurses or nearly 20,000 more drug treatment courses for breast cancer.

Leicester City CCG has contacted all GP practices and pharmacies to make them aware of the benefits of giving patients the responsibility to manage their own medicines where they are able to do so. Leaflets and posters and other resources have also been made available to GP practices, to help inform patients about the change.

Dr Danaher added: “Leicester City CCG supports practices who wish to make this change; however we also expect them to take steps to ensure that vulnerable patients are not disadvantaged. Some patients may find it difficult to order prescriptions themselves and we have advised practices to identify such patients before making the change, so that these individuals will still have the option to have their repeat prescriptions ordered for them. Any patients or carers who think they will find this change difficult should speak to their GP practice”

There are two routes people can choose to order their repeat prescriptions through their GP practice: online (via websites or apps) and by filling in a paper form. Some GP practices also accept telephone requests for repeat prescriptions.

The online route, through the NHS GP Online service, is quick and easy to set up and enables patients to book GP appointments and view some of their medical records, as well as manage their prescriptions. People simply need to speak to staff at their GP practice, who will talk them through the process. Once set up to access GP services online, people can download the NHS app so they can order repeat prescriptions from their mobile phones.

Research carried out by NHS England reveals that 85% of people who use the service say that ordering prescriptions online is straightforward. This figure rises to 90% of people with a long-term health condition.

Further details of the changes being made to prescribing can be found on Leicester City CCG’s website http://bit.ly/Leicester-Repeat-Meds

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