Repeat medication services under threat

Pharmacy Voice and PSNC have issued a briefing on repeat medication services in response to a growing number of plans emerging around the country to restrict pharmacies from requesting repeat prescriptions on patients' behalf.

The briefing explains pharmacy processes and outlines issues to be taken into consideration for the most talked-about proposals that CCGs have put forward – the “Coventry model” and the “Luton model”. It highlights the benefits of the existing repeat dispensing service, which is currently available within the national contract. 

Kim Packham, senior policy adviser at Pharmacy Voice, said: “Refocusing efforts towards improving uptake of electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) will address many of the concerns that both CCGs and pharmacy teams have about the ordering and management of repeat medication. eRD reduces the administrative workload associated with processing requests and gives the prescriber greater control over the length and duration of a prescription and the interval at which it can be dispensed. NHS England estimates that if 80 per cent of repeat prescriptions were prescribed via repeat dispensing, 2.7 million hours of general practice surgery time could be saved.

“As the current uptake of repeat dispensing is low, many pharmacies also offer a variety of services to support patients in accessing their medicines. These services support adherence to medicines and provide patients with choice in how to access them. Initiatives that unpick these services should be carefully considered and consulted on with local pharmacies, general practice and patients so that people are not adversely impacted.”

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