Health leaders in Blackpool have launched a project to change the way people order repeat prescriptions to cut down on the estimated £1.6million of potentially dangerous waste medicines being stocked up in people’s homes.
The move – which comes into effect in October 2019 – will mean the ordering of repeat prescriptions will no longer be possible from local pharmacies. Instead, people will be required to order directly from their GP practice or use online alternatives.
NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and buys local health services, has introduced the changes to improve patient safety and reduce unnecessary costs from waste. The change would also bring Blackpool into line with the rest of Lancashire and much of the country.
Blackpool GP Dr Neil Hartley-Smith, who is also a clinical director with the CCG, said: “We have seen that when patients order their own prescriptions this is safer and reduces waste. Over-ordering, stockpiling and unused medicines present a real risk to patient safety. It also costs the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds every year.
“The only thing that is changing is that people will not be able to order a repeat prescription at their local pharmacy and pharmacists will not be able to order prescriptions on patients’ behalf. People will still be able to collect or receive their medication from wherever they do now.
“We are also keen for more people to take control of their repeat prescriptions by ordering it themselves online when they need it. This will make sure more and more people understand their medication and how they are meant to take it. The prescriptions can be sent electronically directly to the patients preferred pharmacy as required.”
The change has already been implemented across GP practices in Fylde and Wyre and so the move will ensure consistency for all people living across the Fylde Coast.
The CCG has worked with GP practices and pharmacies to get their support and ensure a smooth transition into the new way of working.
Practices will work with any particularly vulnerable patients and their families to ensure they are not negatively affected by the changes. Any patients the practices or pharmacies feel would struggle to cope with the change will be exempt and will be allowed to continue having prescriptions ordered on their behalf.
Anyone affected by this change who has concerns can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01253 955480.