Many Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are restricting community pharmacies from offering repeat prescription management services to patients. It follows concerns from CCGs and GPs over mismanagement of repeat prescriptions ordering that could affect patient safety, as well as concerns regarding wastage
Often patients must now visit GPs or post their requests and while some GPs are refusing to accept telephone orders many are encouraging patients to order repeat prescriptions online. This can prove tricky for those who have difficultly accessing online services, such as the elderly or those living in deprived areas.
Case study: Strachan’s Pharmacy, Widnes.
The local CCG will no longer allow Strachan’s to order repeat prescriptions for patients, with a few exceptions, such as patients who require monitored dosage systems and those with safeguarding considerations. However, the pharmacy is supporting its patients to order repeat prescriptions via the Patient Access app, used by many of its local surgeries.
• The pharmacy bought an iPad and downloaded the Patient Access app. All staff were trained to communicate the changes to repeat prescription ordering to patients and show them how to use the app. Essential Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
• Patients were encouraged to contact their surgeries to obtain their unique patient number, surgery number and other necessary information to set up an account and access the app.
• Patients were then encouraged to use the app at the pharmacy and were offered support from the pharmacy team, if required, including help on setting up an email address.
• Only the patient has access to and retains pertinent information, such as passwords for the app and email address. Please note several other apps are in use by GPs including: Evergreen Life/i-Patient; SystmOnline; Engage Consult; Patient Services; and The Waiting Room. In addition to ordering repeat prescriptions patients can also book GP appointments and view their GP records from the app.
Response from patients and local GP surgeries
Patients appreciate the support from their local pharmacy which enables them to confidently order repeat prescriptions. They are also able to book GP appointments through the app. The local GP surgeries are aware of this mechanism being initiated by the pharmacy and have been issuing app access letters, with the necessary information, to patients. Top tips if you wish to adopt a similar mechanism in your pharmacy:
• Facilitate online access in your pharmacy using a tablet with Wi-Fi connectivity or a computer terminal in the consultation room.
• Research which GP online services app are used commonly in your area using the NHS Choices GP services fi nder tool at nhs.uk.
• Type in your local postcode and from the list of surgeries, click on the black ‘book appointment online’ button located on the left-hand side under the surgery address – this will bring up a list of the GP online services app(s) used by the surgery.
• Download the relevant apps to your tablet/computer via ‘Play Store’ (Android) or ‘App Store’ (iOS).
• Provide appropriate training for all members of the pharmacy team – both in using the various GP online services apps, and also in communicating the change in repeat prescription management service locally. • Communicate the way in which you can support patients through posters, leafl ets and verbal communication.
• Ensure that you have the patient’s consent to help them navigate the relevant app, or to book an appointment.
For further information please contact the NPA Pharmacy Services team on 01727 891800 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org