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Plans approved to improve safety and reduce waste when it comes to ordering repeat medication

Plans approved to improve safety and reduce waste when it comes to ordering repeat medication
30 June 2017

NHS Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has approved plans to support patients and put them in control of ordering their repeat prescription medication.

The CCG has been working with GPs and pharmacies across the borough to review ways of improving safety and reducing waste when it comes to the repeat ordering of medicines.

In 2015/16 an estimated 5.2 million prescription items with a value of £37million, were issued through repeat prescriptions across Barnsley.

Over the last year, the CCG has identified that the way repeat prescriptions are managed varies greatly across GP practices and pharmacies.

Audits have highlighted, that in some areas of the borough, a high number of patients were not involved in the ordering of their medicines and were not getting all the medicines they needed, or were collecting medicines which they didn’t need when they used a pharmacy or other company to order the medicines on their behalf.

The CCG is proposing that this particular way of ordering repeat prescriptions is changed and people, who can, go back to choosing the items they need themselves, via their GP practice.

Dr Mehrban Ghani, medical director at Barnsley CCG said: “GP practices and pharmacies have been doing some excellent work to improve the quality of how they work alongside patients to get the best out of their medicines.

There is one area though where we know there is more work to be done, which is for those people who don’t fill out their own repeat prescriptions each month but get someone to order on their behalf, be that a pharmacy or other similar company.

In our audit many people told us that they have built up a large stock of unused medicines, which they didn’t need, couldn’t store safely or use within date. In some cases these people were often elderly and vulnerable and this shouldn’t be happening. Putting these patients back in control of their ordering will improve both patient safety and the amount of money spent on medicines that aren’t needed.”

The decision to make these changes will be made by each GP practice and the CCG will be supporting patients and carers to help them make the change to safer ways of ordering repeat prescriptions.

The change will also mean that GP practices will have a clearer picture of the medicines an individual does and does not use. This will identify patients at risk and help with discussions during any medication reviews.

Dr Mehrban Ghani said: “These changes need time to plan and get right for patients, particularly those who we want help to understand how it will affect them. We’ll be asking local patient and carer groups to help us do that. For those people it might apply to, their GP practice will be writing to them, as well as talking them and any carers, well ahead of any changes.”

These changes are part of wider plans which have seen the CCG invest in new medicines specialist posts in GP practices, medicines review clinics for patients in surgeries and campaigns to encourage people to only order only the medicines which they need.