Medicine wastage is a growing problem in the NHS. If you have regular repeat medicines on prescription there are some simple things you can do to reduce medicine wastage and save time for you and your GP practice.
Order in a timely manner
It usually takes around 3-4 working days to process and dispense your prescription so order your medicines when you have one week of medicines left but no earlier. Check your medicines cupboards at home immediately before you order to avoid additional medicines being supplied which you do not need.
Order your medicines yourself
You are best placed to order your repeat medicines directly from the surgery and this is best done electronically.
- You can now order using the NHS app, which will allow you to see your prescribed medications and order a repeat prescription.
- The app is quick and easy to use and is available free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store – just search “NHS APP”.
Alternatively you can ask your pharmacy or dispenser for a paper repeat medicines ordering slip. On this slip you can tick the medicines you need and put a line through the items you do not need that month. You will be able to request these medicines in the future if you need them. Take or post the paper repeat medicines ordering slip to your GP practice.
Electronic Prescription Service
Most prescriptions are now signed, sent and processed electronically.
You have two choices for how this works.
- You can choose a pharmacy or dispenser to dispense all your prescriptions. When you get a prescription, it will be sent electronically to the dispenser you have chosen. You can collect your medicines or appliances without having to hand in a paper prescription; or
- You can decide each time you are issued a prescription where you would like it to be dispensed. When you are issued a prescription, you will be given a paper copy that you can take to any pharmacy or other dispenser in England. The paper copy will contain a unique barcode that will be scanned to download your prescription from the secure NHS database.
Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)
If you regularly get a prescription for the same medicine(s), this service is of benefit to you.
Your doctor will give your chosen pharmacy or dispenser permission to dispense a series of prescriptions for you. The number of repeat prescriptions you can get will be determined by how frequently your doctor requests that you have a medication review (usually every 12 months).
This means you won’t have to re-order from your GP practice every time you need more medicine. You can go to your pharmacy to collect your medicine when you are due for a new supply. Each time you collect, ‘Open the Bag’ and check you only have what you need- hand back anything that you don’t before you leave the pharmacy.
Golden rules of ordering
- Only order what you need – If you don’t need the medicine please don’t order it! If you need the medicine in the future you can still request it and it will not disappear from your repeat list.
- Check your bag of medication before you leave the pharmacy – Even if you never open them, once medicines have left the pharmacy, they cannot be recycled or used by anyone else.