Patients advised how to access medicines

Patients advised how to access medicines

LOCAL health leaders are advising patients how to access medicine during the pandemic.

Patients are being urged to order prescriptions in the usual way they did pre-pandemic, which includes online apps such as MyGP or Patient Access. For patients who used to order their repeat prescriptions using a paper script, all prescriptions will now be issued electronically to your nominated pharmacy, if you do not have a nominated pharmacy you will be asked to select one. Paper prescriptions will only be issued in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of your GP practice.

The Prescribing Ordering Direct (POD) Service continues to be open but patients should only call if their repeat prescription is due within the next seven days. Beacon Primary Care, Hall Green Surgery and Parbold Surgery patients should order as normal from their GP practices as the POD does not process requests for these practices.(Some frequently asked questions are below).

If patients are in one of the clinically vulnerable groups and have no support network from friends, family or neighbours to collect medicine, they should speak to their nominated pharmacy to request delivery. 

Dr Peter Gregory, local GP and chair at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We want to reassure patients that there is no need to stockpile medication and urge them to order their repeat prescriptions in the usual way as they did before the pandemic. Our POD and local pharmacies are receiving overwhelming demand so it’s important we all access these services sensibly. It is also crucial that those most in need also ask for help where needed”.

Patients are also being reminded of the importance of not presenting at a pharmacy if you or someone that you live with is showing symptoms of Covid-19, in order to help keep local people and staff safe.

Frequently Asked Questions to the Prescribing Ordering Direct (POD) Service:

Q. Can I have an inhaler?

A. Unless you have a confirmed diagnosis of a chronic respiratory condition (such as asthma) pharmacies cannot accept requests for inhalers.

Q. Can I take ibuprofen?

A. If you currently use anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) for non-Covid-19 related conditions (such as arthritis) you should continue to do so.

Q. Can I have some paracetamol?

A. Paracetamol will only be provided if it is already routinely prescribed as part of a repeat prescription.

Q. Is it safe to take ibuprofen to treat Covid-19?

A. There is insufficient evidence linking ibuprofen and Covid-19, and whether it can help or hinder recovery. However, it can be used alongside paracetamol to help ease some of the symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever and headache. Please follow correct guidance for usage when taking over the counter medicines and follow NHS advice if your symptoms worsen.

Q. Can I have a rescue park?

A. You should not contact your GP practice, pharmacy or POD for a rescue pack. You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel that you have symptoms of Covid-19 you should go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 before doing anything else.

Q: My B12 injections is no longer available, what can I do?

A.B12 injections have been stopped to protect staff and patients. We recommend patients who normally receive an injection take high dose B12 tablets 1mg (1000mcg) a day.  Available to buy from pharmacies or online. To find out what health services are available in West Lancashire and how to access them during the Covid-19 pandemic, please visit our website.

Q. I am stranded overseas and running out of medication, what should I do?

A. Your GP will be unable to send prescriptions to a pharmacy overseas. However, it is important not to start rationing your tablets by reducing your prescribed dosage. You should:

  • Take details of your medicine to a local pharmacy. If you do not have a copy of your prescription take your medicine boxes/bottles to the pharmacy, so the pharmacist has full details of drugs you are taking, dosages, and how they are administered.
  • You may be able to purchase your medication over the counter, if you cannot, the pharmacy will direct you a local doctor who will be able to provide you with a prescription.

If you are in an EU country and have a have a valid European Health Card (EHIC) some, or all, of the costs may be covered. Valid EHIC cards can still be used in the EU until December 31st, 2020.

If you do not have an EHIC card or are not in an EU country, you will need to pay for a medical consultation and your prescription, although this may be covered by travel insurance.