Moves to stop pharmacy repeat prescription schemes prompts new guidance

Community pharmacies are being prevented from reordering prescriptions

Community pharmacy leaders have produced guidance about the management of repeat medicine requests following moves by GPs to prevent community pharmacies from reordering prescriptions in advance on behalf of patients.

Some clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are adopting what has been termed the ‘Luton model’, which only allows patients — not community pharmacies — to order prescriptions for repeat medicines direct from the practice, according to the guidance written by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and Pharmacy Voice.

Other CCGs, it points out, are looking to bring in an alternative ‘Coventry model’, where the prescription ordering service is run centrally by the CCG, again taking community pharmacies out of the system.

“Non-NHS repeat medication services play an important role in offering patients choice in how they access their regular medicines and they are often highly valued by patients,” the guidance states.

“Attempting to restrict the ability of community pharmacies to request prescriptions on behalf of patients, or directing them to a prescription ordering direct service, may have unintended consequences.”

These new models could put extra pressure on practice staff, confuse patients and restrict their access to medicines because they are unable to reach centralised services, it argues.

The guidance adds: “A ‘one size fits all’ approach may not be appropriate and we encourage a collaborative approach with local pharmaceutical committees and local medical committees, local general practices, community pharmacies and patients prior to any new measures being introduced.”

Kim Packham, senior policy adviser at Pharmacy Voice, says: “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.”

The guidance, which recommends steps that community pharmacists should take if there are attempts to change the traditional non-NHS repeat medicines request system, is published on the PSNC and Pharmacy Voice websites.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, September 2016, Vol 297, No 7893;297(7893):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201645

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