RESIDENTS of West Lancashire are being asked to help their local NHS in its aim to tackle the issue of medicines waste.
A new campaign launched this week by NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will address the growing issue of medicines waste, which is fast becoming a major concern for the NHS nationally, as it spends an estimated £300M annually on medicines that are not needed, with that figure equating to £600,000 a year in West Lancashire.
Although there is a clear need for the NHS to look at where it directs its funds and to use these appropriately, the medicines waste campaign will look to address some very real medicines safety issues. It will aim to reduce the amount of people taking medicine they no longer need, whilst at the same time addressing the dangers that people storing unused medicines at home poses if they get into the wrong hands.
To address this issue, from Tuesday 1 November 2016, GP practices across the region will no longer accept repeat prescriptions from pharmacists ordering on behalf of a patient or carer. Instead, patients and carers will now be required to order these prescriptions for themselves (apart from in exceptional circumstances).
To ease any concerns, GP practices are writing to all those affected in early October, explaining fully what is happening, when and why, and clearly explaining how they can now order their medication moving forward. In addition, GP practice staff will be trained to support any patients or carers that have any difficulties.
To assist those people affected with this new process, the CCG is encouraging all patients to use the FREE ‘Patient Access’ website and smartphone app. Patient Access is available to anyone registered with a GP, is easy to use and in addition to managing and ordering repeat prescriptions, it will enable users to make GP appointments and view their medical records online or on their smartphone.
Dr Peter Gregory, a GP at Parkgate Surgery in Ormskirk and clinical lead at NHS West Lancashire CCG, said:
“The NHS in West Lancashire has a responsibility to its patients to address some very important medicines safety issues.
“We are moving away from pharmacists ordering repeat prescriptions on behalf of patients, as there is a risk that medicines are being ordered that are no longer required.
“With this campaign, we want to engage with patients, to give them the confidence to take control of how they take and order their medicines and to only order what they need.
“At its core, ultimately it is about everyone in West Lancashire working together, residents, GPs and pharmacists so that collectively we can help to tackle this issue of medicines waste.”
Patients and carers who have any views about the campaign and repeat prescriptions are encouraged to speak to their GP and via an online survey, which is available on the West Lancashire CCG website: https://www.westlancashireccg.nhs.uk/.