Medicine Supply Issues
We continue to experience supply issues with certain medications which can vary from week to week. It is important to inform you that these are national issues affecting every dispensary and pharmacy in the country, not just limited to Chapel Row Surgery. These issues are regularly fed back to the government by dispensing GPs through our collective organisation The Dispensing Doctors Association (DDA). There are a number of causes including closure of factories manufacturing generic medications, the weak Pound against the Euro and issues resulting from the government’s monopoly on the price of generic medications within the NHS.
We do our best to circumvent these issues, but sometimes you will notice that we have to change your medication to something very similar which may be on a temporary basis. All efforts are taken to ensure this is the most appropriate alternative available. Occasionally, if we are unable to obtain a certain medication, the Dispensary staff will direct you to a local pharmacy as these large companies can afford to retain higher stock levels than our Dispensary. We try to avoid putting you to this inconvenience whenever possible.
A meeting was arranged with Richard Benyon (MP) on 11th May 2018 to involve his support and assistance in trying to improve this situation. The DDA are pushing this agenda within Parliament.
Changes to the Dispensary Hatch
It will not have escaped your notice that the Dispensary is becoming busier and busier and we now dispense approximately 10,000 separate items per month. The current Chapel Row Surgery building was opened in 1992 and we have looked at various options for enlarging the Dispensary, but this has proven very challenging. We are always seeking to change the system to improve efficiency.
We recently trialled changing the position of the hatch as we are conscious of the importance of patient confidentiality at the hatch particularly when there is a queue. A trial of moving the hatch to the right side recently turned out to be no benefit so it has been returned to the original position. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
There are currently four different methods of ordering a repeat prescription. We had to stop telephone ordering because of Clinical Quality Commission concerns about the risks involved. The four current options are:
- ROS (Repeat Ordering System). This is an automated system so that your prescription will be automatically ordered for the following month when you collect. This method is proven popular with patients. If you would like to use this please ask.
- Paper System. We have always operated a system where patients can drop their repeat prescription slip into the box. We plan to continue this in the foreseeable future. Obviously, this is convenient for patients who visit the Surgery regularly.
- Online. Undoubtedly, online repeat prescribing is the future, and we are keen to encourage those who feel able to use this method. There are two options:
- Via the Chapel Row Surgery website. We are keen for patients to use our website for information about common medical issues, asking the Practice non-urgent questions in order to avoid busy telephone lines and sometimes to provide us with information relating to the monitoring of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and asthma. It can also be used to order repeat prescriptions. You do have to enter the name of the medication you are ordering manually and so it is not as easy as on Patient Access Online which already has a list of your repeat medication.
- Patient Access Online. Patients need to register individually for Patient Access Online. To do so, please ask reception for a log-in. You will need to show reception 2 forms of ID at this time. Once registered, patients have online access to parts of their medical record including ordering their medication online. This system is very simple and has the maximum potential for avoiding human mistakes. Your medication list will appear in your records and it is simply a question of ticking a box for the items you want to order that particular month, and submitting the request.
Last week a major problem resulted after EMIS (the company that runs our medical software system) updated the dispensary aspect of its programme. Due to a serious oversight on their part they have introduced an option for you to choose a pharmacy but they omitted to include Chapel Row Dispensary as an option. This has now been rectified.
- Pharmacy 2 U. It has come to our attention that the commercial company Pharmacy 2 U have been mailshotting the population in some local areas. This is a commercial company seeking to maximise its business. We very much hope that you will continue to use our dispensing service at Chapel Row Surgery, as by doing so you are supporting your Practice and all the services it provides. The income from the dispensary is used to provide an enhanced level of service at Chapel Row Surgery, including doctors and nurses which of course is of no interest to a commercial company.Finally, we strive to provide an excellent NHS service at Chapel Row Surgery, despite the Government reducing some of our funding streams and the lack of investment in Primary Care over the last decade. We are aware that our reputation locally remains very high and we are striving to maintain this in the current difficult NHS financial environment.
Dr P Westcar.