Prescription services in Bradford are changing

Patients in Bradford are being encouraged to contact their GP and register for online ordering of repeat prescriptions.

The Bradford NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are supporting GPs to help switch many patients to simple online ordering which can save people a lot of time and give them more control over their prescription ordering.

The GP SystmOne online service – known as SystmOnline - also allows patients to book appointments and update their details at anytime, anywhere and is available at all practices. The online service empowers people to take greater control of their health and wellbeing, while providing more choice and convenience in how GP services can be accessed.

NHS Bradford City and NHS Bradford Districts CCGs have asked GPs to start phasing in a new scheme which means that pharmacies will no longer be able to order medicines on behalf of local patients.

This means that patients will need to order their repeat prescription directly from their GP surgery – and using the online service will make this even easier. Designated carers, relatives or friends can also order on the patient's behalf.

More information about how to register and use SystmOnline can be found here or at patients’ local GP practice.

Under the old system, some patients built up a stock of unused medicines. This new system is much safer as your GP can monitor more accurately what medicines they may need and no longer need.

The change, which started in November, will improve patient safety as patients have more control and understanding of their medicines and what they are taking at any particular time. By making the change, the CCGs can reinvest the money saved, by reducing prescription waste, in healthcare services in Bradford.

The CCGs are reviewing certain service areas as part of an overall NHS programme known as QIPP – quality, innovation, productivity and prevention – which is all about making sure that each pound spent brings maximum benefit and quality of care to patients.

Dr Himat Thandi, from the CCGs’ medicines management team, said: “Patient safety is always our main priority. However, we have become increasingly concerned about the amount of medicines that are wasted and we feel that one cause is repeat ordering when things may not actually be required. In other parts of the country similar projects have helped to reduce medication waste.

“If you already order repeat prescriptions directly from your GP surgery, you will not be affected by this change and do not need to take any action. However, if your community pharmacy is currently ordering repeat medicines on your behalf, this is set to change.

“The new system will give you more control over your repeat medication ordering and enable your GP to have a more accurate picture of what medicines you actually use.”

Patients should take their medicines as prescribed and talk to their GP or community pharmacist if this creates any problem, such as side effects or confusion over dosage or frequency.

They are also asking people to only order medicine that they actually need. Regular medicines usually need to be ordered each month, but medicines you only take as required may need to be ordered much less frequently than this.

All surgeries will start to offer a variety of ways patients can request a repeat prescription. These may include online, handing in the white, tear-off part of your repeat prescription to your surgery, by letter or mobile app. Practices will still be able to send repeat prescriptions directly to the chemist of your choice.

Patients should contact their own GP surgery to check on its own procedures for ordering a repeat prescription. Special arrangements are in place for vulnerable patients to continue to receive community pharmacy help with ordering of repeat medicines subject to approval by their GP surgery.

People who need support or know someone who needs help, should notify the practice manager at their surgery.