Likely questions about our service
One of the key features of Primary Care is that we cannot always predict what we are going to be faced with on any given day. Part of our review has included how we can manage what are often conflicting demands and give our patients a reliable and consistent service. We found that our mornings were packed with conflicting priorities, so we have looked hard at what could move without adversely affecting the service that our patients received.
Prescriptions was the one area where we knew that our patients would normally be able to anticipate their needs for re-ordering their medication, but what annoyed them was when we failed to meet a promised deadline. It therefore made sense to change the timescale of our service to meet the requirements of NHS Somerset which is to deal with requests for repeat prescriptions within two working days and Acute Prescription requests within three (unless very urgent).
You can expect Prescriptions to be ready as follows:
We aim to process all prescriptions within 48 hours following your request or consultation.
When collecting your prescription from your nominated pharmacy, or have it delivered, please check with the pharmacy how long their processing might take.
Likely Questions about the new service
How do I know whether the medication that I am requesting will be treated as a repeat request or as an acute request?
A repeat prescription is where you have agreed with a doctor that you need to take a particular medication regularly for an agreed period of time. This could be to treat a particular condition such as heart disease or diabetes where both you and your doctor understand what is needed on an on-going basis.
An acute item is where a doctor may have prescribed a medication to deal with a specific set of symptoms, and therefore not necessarily expect you to need any more. Even if you have had the medication to deal with a problem before, a doctor may still need to review your notes to see if anything has changed, or speak to you, to check your symptoms. This can sometimes take longer and is reflected in the new timescales.
Why are requests for repeat prescriptions sometimes refused?
There is not an automatic right to repeat medication, even if you have agreed a particular course of medication with your doctor, we are still responsible for ensuring that you are using the medication properly and that it is still necessary to treat your condition. This means, for instance, that we have to ensure that you are using the right amount and not ordering too much too soon. We will request that you attend medication reviews and its important that you attend to ensure that what we are prescribing for you is still working. If you fail to attend these reviews we will have to stop providing the medication until you are able to come and see us. You will get plenty of warning though.
What if I am going away and need extra medication?
Please make us aware of any special requests in plenty of time. We will try and meet your requirements where we can or suggest alternative arrangements that you need to put in place to get what you need.
What if I forget to order my medication and will run out before the prescription would normally be ready?
Whilst we depend on our patients sensibly managing their own medication supplies, we are aware that sometimes for a variety of reasons, they are not ordered in time. If this happens, patients must come to the surgery to order the medication from reception and they will be given a time for collection of a prescription. Prescriptions requests will not be issued immediately. Please do not pressurise our staff to do so.
The doctors will normally be able to review urgent requests each day, but this may vary according to circumstances. However, we are only able to offer this service on an exceptional basis, if we find that a patient consistently uses this service we will have to discuss alternative arrangements.
Please see our leaflet for further information.
What if a consultant at a hospital changes my medication?
Consultants at hospitals are specialists in a specific area and sometimes will suggest alternative treatment. However, if a doctor at the surgery issues a prescription they take on the responsibility for whatever medication is prescribed. This means that for us to comply with any requests we have to have the specific details from the hospital. Unfortunately these are not always available to us immediately so we do have to rely on our patients to ensure that they bring the information with them when they make the request.
Sometimes a consultant may suggest a medication which is not available in primary care and our doctors are not allowed to provide it. In these instances we will refer you back to the hospital to talk to the staff there.