Three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in the north west of England and East Anglia have implemented schemes to stop pharmacies from reordering prescriptions – with the hopes of saving the NHS around £10 million a year in wasted medicines, C+D reported on Monday (August 15).
Pharmacists commenting on the C+D website were divided between those who hoped for a wider rollout of the scheme across the UK and those who branded it a “step backward”.
“No prescription without request”
Community pharmacist Michael Franks agreed with the CCGs that “no prescription should be requested without the patient requesting it”. “I ask the patient to contact us seven days before the script is due,” he said.
Pharmacist Reeyah H said they are “100% for” nationwide rollout of the scheme. “[I'm] sick and tired of moaning patients who have become so lazy, and the workload for staff,” they wrote.
A community pharmacist posting as Barry Pharmacist praised the CCGs’ decision as “the end of the line for unscrupulous individuals that drag us down”.
“If it applies to everyone, and is not manipulated by GPs with a commercial interest in a particular pharmacy, then let it be,” he posted.
Community pharmacist Kalpesh Shah said he “completely” agrees with the scheme, which would affect multiples used to “asking patients to repeat their medicines every month”.
However, he questioned who will “pick up the slack” of the extra prescription requests currently handled by pharmacies. “Surgeries up and down the country have got used to pharmacies dealing their repeats and most do not have staff in place to deal with extra prescription requests,” he posted.
“Totally against the idea”
Other readers were more vocal in their concerns. Dispensing assistant Sam Isted said his pharmacy had already tried to “implement this change” and he is “totally against the idea”.
“I work in an area where roughly 80% of the population are elderly patients who do not have access to the internet or are unable to get to the surgery,” he posted. “Surely patient safety should come [before] any money saving scheme?”
A community pharmacist posting as R Patel said the scheme was going to be “such a disaster for some independent pharmacies, as “the [GP practice] pharmacies in these pilot areas will pick up all the scripts”.
“Yet again, bad practices by some pharmacies – mainly the big multiples and large groups – have created this problem,” they added.
Pharmacy staff member Robert Miller labelled the scheme a “step backwards”. “The present arrangements [are] working well. This change will put pressure on surgeries and inconvenience patients,” he wrote.
Locum pharmacist Hadi Al-Bayati said he “agreed that more [responsibility] should be put on the patient", but added that he is “curious what [a] surgery's policy will be if you can’t get there to order [the medicine] and don’t have a computer”.
He questioned whether GP practices would be forced to “staff a prescription ordering service” to deal with the extra demand.
The Twitter response
A long running problem. But could be resolved by including pharmacy in the discussion. https://t.co/YZRLKIUZrV— Tony Schofield (@tony_schofield) August 16, 2016
Implemented similar in large group practice. Working well 10 months in, significant reduced workload in practice https://t.co/OPsZMC04qz— Kerry Finl y (@kjbkjf) August 15, 2016
Read a retired pharmacist’s view on the dangers of repeat prescribing