|Now we have moved into our new, improved and larger Health Centre,
we are having to revise the way we work. One of the areas that is proving
difficult for us is the ordering and collection of routine, repeat prescriptions.
Many of you will already know that there is now a designated dispensary
with "patient" hatch opening onto the waiting room. We are unable to man
this at all times and yet dispensed prescriptions need to be kept there
for security. Whilst we are happy to unlock and hand out prescriptions
at any time during our normal opening hours there are times when this will
take our staff away from other work, such as manning reception and the
telephone. Therefore calling for prescriptions at some times may involve
a considerable wait until the staff member is free. It would be helpful
for us all if routine, repeat prescriptions could be collected during the
hours when we have more staff available to man the dispensary: Monday –
Friday 09.00 – 12.00 14.00 – 17.00
During this review of dispensary arrangements and our discussions with
the Health Authority, it has become clear that we need to review the way
repeat prescriptions are ordered. At present telephone or verbal requests
to non-pharmacy trained staff is accepted here as the norm; but is a recipe
for error. It has long been Health Authority advice that repeat prescriptions
requests should only be made using the prescription counterfoils on which
the required items are clearly marked by the patient. It is our intention
to make a change to this safer procedure over the next few weeks.
Since our move there have been a number of requests for the "same day"
dispensing of routine, repeat prescriptions. We would like to take this
opportunity to remind patients that we do not offer this service (being
an unsafe practice, putting our dispenser under considerable pressure and
in any case not always being possible to achieve). The prescription counterfoil
requests two working days notice in order to process the prescription.
As our dispenser has only ever worked on weekday mornings this means that
a routine, repeat prescription requested on Friday afternoon should not
be expected before Tuesday afternoon of the following week. In addition
special items we do not carry as stock will be subject to additional "delays"
of ordering and dispatch from mainland suppliers. We have clearly often
turned round prescription requests faster than this but it should not be
Under new legislation we are now obliged to obtain the patients (or
their representatives) signature on the reverse of the prescription. This
is particularly important where the patient is claiming exemption from
charges. We are now also obliged to ask to see evidence for exemption before
handing over the dispensed prescription and to indicate on the reverse
when this evidence is not produced. We are aware that some chemists have
to charge the prescription fee regardless of exemption if proof of such
exemption is not produced. It is therefore important to be prepared with
either the prescription fee or evidence of exemption when collecting a
prescription. It is now essential that all non-exempt patients should pay
for their prescriptions, currently £5.90 per item.
Please make repeat prescription requests using the prescription counterfoils,
either handed to the receptionist or posted to the Health Centre, allowing
at least two working days from receipt. Try to arrange collection if possible
during the hours suggested above. The receptionist will advise you if someone
is manning the dispensary on arrival. The hatch may be closed allowing
the dispenser to dispense the drugs uninterrupted and so you may have to
knock and wait a short while. Be prepared to pay the prescription charges
or show evidence of exemption and also to sign the reverse of the prescription.
Thank you for your co-operation.