Simon Edge, BRA Director, reports:
The BRA has been told about Resident's concerns at the withdrawal of the "managed repeat" prescription ordering service (i.e. when your pharmacy orders repeat descriptions from your GP on your behalf without you having to do anything) by Boots the Chemist in Bookham High Street.
Also that communications between Boots and our GP Surgeries need to improve. These issues cause difficulties for residents when trying to order and then obtain their prescriptions. The BRA was concerned for all Boots customers, but especially for the elderly and vulnerable and their carers, and for people who struggle with using computers or "Apps" to order their prescriptions themselves. So, we met with Boots' recently appointed Branch Manager, James Slaughter, to put these concerns to him.
James was very keen to respond, and we are delighted that he has confirmed that "Boots will continue to offer the managed repeat service to the limited number of patients who have no other option to request". He also explained why he and other Pharmacy Managers were generally withdrawing the managed repeat service. James told us about a study of 18 local pharmacies in the midlands which found that around 29% of the items they ordered by managed repeat were actually “over-ordered”.
Apart from the obvious safety issues at having so many medications unnecessarily over-ordered, it was also costing the NHS over £2m a year. Following these safety and cost issues, James understands that some 40% of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) (see footnote) in England plan to stop pharmacies from ordering repeat prescriptions on behalf of patients. A similar proportion either have, or are considering, instructing patients to order repeat prescriptions directly from their GP.
For those able to use them, James recommends the Patient Access App or the NHS App to request medications. Requesting via these Apps is (said to be) simple and skips the admin team at your local GP Surgery by going straight to the doctor, which frees up the admin team up to help patients.
The Apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile. You may also use your laptop/desktop computer to access these Apps. For help, click on the buttons below:
In the NHS App you can keep track of where your repeat prescription order is in the system: waiting for GP approval or undetermined, approved by your GP or issued, rejected or refused - hopefully all very helpful and reassuring about what is happening with your prescription. Of course, you can still simply hand-in your prescription request directly to your GP Surgery.
After it is approved Boots will take three working days on average to get a prescription dispensed ready for collection.
James has already had a very productive meeting with the Practice Manager of one of the main GP Surgeries in the Village. They are working together to improve communications and now have a "direct line" to help them keep in touch and resolve issues together. Similar arrangements are hoped for when James meets with the other surgery's Practice Manager. As James puts it "We as NHS contractors will endeavour to solve all queries in branch to prevent the 'back and forth' of patients [between Boots and the GP Surgeries]".
The BRA wishes James and the GP Practices all the best for improving the prescription service they jointly provide to Bookham's residents.
If you need to contact James for help, or with any queries or concerns, you can see him in the Bookham High Street branch of Boots, or contact him via 01372 457677. This is a direct line to the store and will be answered by one of his staff in his absence, or email him at: James.Slaughter1@boots.com
Footnote: Surrey Heartlands CCG is a GP-led organisation, with 104 GP Practices who work together across four local areas responsible for planning and buying health services for a local population of around one million people (three quarters of Surrey's population) using a budget of around £1.5 billion.