Pharmacies Ordering Repeat Prescriptions
We have heard concerns about these schemes across the whole of Wessex and, on further enquiry, it is apparent that there is a national problem. Managed repeat prescription services are when the pharmacy retains the patient’s prescription repeat request form and submits it to the surgery on their behalf. The next prescription can then be processed and dispensed ready for the patient to collect it at a convenient time before they have run out of medication.
Pharmacies are obliged to have a robust Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the service which amongst other factors should cover
- Which patients and medicines are suitable for the scheme
- How and when the patient communicates what they need each time so that only what they need is ordered
- How and when the requests are submitted to the surgery and suitable audit trails
- Verifying with the patient if any changes to their medication have occurred since the request was made and before supplying the completed prescription
- Ensuring that items on a prescription that are not dispensed are marked ‘ND’ and the item is clearly scored through in ink
- Adequate records relating to all the above
Ideally SOPs would be developed with input from the local surgeries but this does not always happen. Not following the above steps can result in patients receiving all of the items on their repeat request forms irrespective of need and in medication changes being missed. Whilst much of the onus for getting this right lies with the pharmacy, the responsibility is shared by practices as it is us (GPs) who sign all of the prescriptions.
We will feedback on any progress with national discussions and in the meantime would advise practices to consider their role in repeat prescribing systems that ensure both patient safety and the minimisation of waste.
This process should be smoothed out with the advert of electronic prescribing.