‘Not enough publicity’ for repeat prescription changes in Brighton and Hove

Prescriptions waiting to be colleted (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Prescriptions waiting to be colleted (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Patients will no longer be able to order repeat prescriptions routinely from their pharmacist as part of a drive by health chiefs in Brighton and Hove to cut waste and save money.

But a councillor said that there needed to be more publicity about the changes after he ended up with a double dose because of a mix up.

Councillor Samer Bagaeen said that he used to reorder a repeat prescription through his local pharmacy.

But under a new system – known as Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) – he was told last month that he would have to go through his doctors’ surgery.

He said that, in the end, both the pharmacy and his GP issued a fresh prescription.

The new POD system is currently being tested in some surgeries on the eastern side of Brighton and Hove after it was deemed successful in another part of Sussex.

Councillor Bagaeen said that health chiefs could make whatever changes they wanted but it was no good if they caught people by surprise.

The Conservative councillor said: “When I went into Boots to inquire about my own repeat prescription I was handed a leaflet from the CCG proclaiming a ‘new and convenient way to order your repeat prescription’.

“This was news to me and I bet will be news to many more people currently using the repeat prescription system.

“In my view, the CCG has failed miserably to advertise this service and the content of this leaflet should have certainly been advertised more to users.

“To make things worse, I got contradictory information from the pharmacist at Boots and from my GP surgery about the operation of the service.”

He sent a question to Brighton and Hove City Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board about the issue.

The CCG said that almost half the population had repeat prescriptions and there were concerns that over-ordering was resulting in too much waste.

It said that Prescription Ordering Direct had been tried by the High Weald, Lewes and Havens CCG.

Locally it was being used for patients at the Saltdean and Rottingdean Medical Practice, St Luke’s Surgery and Woodingdean Surgery.

The CCG said: “POD is an additional route to ordering repeat prescriptions. Paper and online requesting is still available.

“‘Managed repeats’ by community pharmacy is no longer available for most patients but can still be provided if it will benefit a specific patient for example, a housebound patient.

“The service allows patients to request repeat prescriptions via a call centre hosted by the CCG, with the call handler verifying each item requested.”

Nationally up to 410 million repeat prescriptions are issued every year.

Brighton and Hove CCG said that it was working closely with the High Weald, Lewes and the Havens CCG.

Across the area served by the two CCGs, almost eight million prescriptions were issued in 2017-18 at a cost of £63.4 million.