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Repeat dispensing

Scottish Parliament debates negative impact of ordering repeat prescriptions

Schemes that involve pharmacy staff ordering repeat medicines on behalf of patients have been criticised in the Scottish Parliament during a debate about medicine waste.

Chic Brodie MSP (SNP, South Scotland), on 8 May 2014, asked whether the cabinet secretary would remind pharmacists to follow procedures for repeat prescriptions: “Two years ago … the cabinet secretary advised that an estimated cost of £30m was attributed to some pharmacies not following the process strictures on repeat prescriptions. Will the cabinet secretary now reinforce the message to all pharmacists and GPs that the process must be followed?”

In reply, health secretary Alex Neil said: “The schemes to which Chic Brodie has referred are not actually NHS pharmacy services. He will be aware that officials wrote to all NHS boards and contractors about the negative impact that the schemes can have. I will absolutely reinforce that point again.”

Neil said that a new tool is being developed called the “Scottish therapeutics utility” that will help GPs identify areas of potential medicines waste within repeat prescribing systems. NHS boards have a responsibility to ensure prescribers prescribe according to patient need, said Neil, and added that pharmacists have a role in providing medicines reviews.

Richard Simpson MSP (Lab, Mid Scotland and Fife) said that waste medicines are incinerated. Neil replied: “I would like to see whether we can recycle some of the drugs, provided that safety is not compromised, to Africa and elsewhere.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138344

Readers' comments (1)


  • Most medicines optimisation teams have facility to perform repeat prescription audits in each practice and review procedures in GP practices. The key is to do annual audits to keep on top and monitor compliance to repeat prescription reordering guide lines.


    Also, ensuring clinical medication review by pharmacists of patients on several or more items and collaboration with community pharmacy is key. Incentivising pharmacists to not dispense medcation in clear cases of wastage would be helpful. 


    Clearly, this is an area that medicines optimisation pharmacy teams to make a significant impact with 70% of scripts being repeat medication.


    Gerry Diamond


    Manchester

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