Pharmacies across Fylde and Wyre will no longer be able to order repeat prescriptions on patients’ behalf, a move health bosses hope could save hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Patients will now have to visit their GP or order their prescriptions online. Some practices also offer a telephone option.
The change was made to cut down on the amount of unneeded medicines being stockpiled in people’s homes, which costs Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) around £1.6 million a year, the group said.
Fleetwood GP and the CCG’s clinical lead for medicines, Dr Jacky Penesar, said: “We have seen that when patients order their own prescriptions this is safer and reduces waste.
“Over-ordering, stockpiling and unused medicines cost the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds every year. It also presents a potential risk to patient safety.
“The only thing that is changing is that people will not be able to order a repeat prescription at their local pharmacy and pharmacists will not be able to order prescriptions on patients’ behalf. People will still be able to collect or receive their medication from wherever they do now.
“We are also keen for more people to take control of their repeat prescriptions by ordering it themselves online when they need it. This will make sure more and more people understand their medication and how they are meant to take it.
“The prescriptions can be sent electronically directly to the patients preferred pharmacy as required.”
The change has already been implemented at two practices in Fleetwood – Fleetwood Surgery and Broadway Medical Centre – and The Old Links Surgery in St Annes. Others will follow suit soon.
Around 23,000 out of 150,000 Fylde and Wyre patients will be affected. All will be written to.
Any patients the practices or pharmacies ‘feel would struggle to copy with the change will be exempt and will be allowed to continue having prescriptions ordered on their behalf’, it added.
Blackpool CCG revealed plans to stop repeat prescription ordering at pharmacies last year, saying four per cent of all medicines were not being taken.
A dedicated helpline has been set up to address patients’ concerns: 01253 957486