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Health Matters: Don't be greedy with prescriptions

With Dr Graham Duce, GP at Park Green Surgery, Macclesfield, and NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinical lead for antibiotic stewardship.

It's no secret that health service finances are stretched to the limit.

At NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, we’re working tirelessly to find ways of maintaining high-quality services with less money.

There are ways we can increase efficiency, reduce waste and improve patient safety – and you can help us by taking control of ordering your repeat prescriptions.

This will improve safety and cut waste to save around £1.3m a year.

Most patients already order repeat prescriptions by dropping off requests at their GP practice, ordering them online or sending them in by post. But many people use a community pharmacy to order their repeat prescriptions for them. We would like these patients to stop doing this and use one of the other methods instead.

Our patients have told us that these pharmacy systems often generate orders for medicines that have been stopped, or are not needed, allowing stockpiles to build up in patients’ homes.

One local example that stands out was an elderly patient who had four years’ worth of insulin at home, much of which had passed its use-by-date – posing a clear risk to their health and safety.

So while this move will save money, we also believe it will improve patient safety.

We are asking you to:

  • Order your own prescriptions and only what you need – a good way of doing this is by registering for online access
  • Check medicines dispensed by the pharmacy and ask them to take back anything that isn’t needed
  • Tell your doctor if you have stopped taking anything on your repeat prescription
  • Attend review appointments with your pharmacist or GP to see if your medicines list needs altering.

We are confident this approach will not affect the viability of community pharmacies as the ordering of repeat prescriptions is only a small part of their work.

A number of our GP practices are starting to implement these changes, while a small number will continue as normal as they already have systems in place with local pharmacies.

Contact your practice for further information.


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