June 2017 Newsletter
for the patients of The Roseland Surgeries
Forthcoming Bank Holidays:
Monday 28th August – Surgery CLOSED
The Repeat Prescription System
One of the most common complaints we receive concerns the issuing and dispensing of medication. A complaint can be anything from medication not being at the patient’s requested collection point, medication not being issued in a timely manner, or being issued incorrectly.
We recognise that we are not perfect and sometimes we can get it wrong. We hope that we react appropriately to ensure that things are put right. We also use each incident as a learning opportunity and put into place additional training if needed.
The process of ordering repeat prescriptions is not altogether straightforward and there can be many paths that a request goes down, before the prescription is authorised, generated and ultimately dispensed. So, in order to highlight the problems we face on this side, we thought it would be helpful to outline what should happen each time you request medication. A short flow chart can also be found overleaf.
The first thing that we need to understand is that as a three-site practice, covering over 67 square miles, we have both dispensing and non-dispensing patients. Patients who have a St Mawes address and those whom we care for who live nearer Truro and St Austell are classed as ‘non-dispensing’ as they live within a mile (as the crow flies) of a pharmacy. We will tell you if you are a non-dispensing patient. We may only dispense medication to these patients in an emergency, out of hours when the nearest pharmacy is closed. So this means routine, repeat prescriptions are generated which the patient must then take to the pharmacy of their choice.
Routine, repeat medications that patients are on regularly with no changes ordinarily present no problems. Medication is reviewed 6 monthly by the GPs at the point of the request being received, but this doesn’t stop the prescription being processed.
Repeat medication requests are received, the prescription is generated and then signed by the GP before being sent to the dispensary for processing. If you request your medication at a branch site, the request is electronically generated and sent to the dispensary over our secure clinical network. For our St Mawes’ residents, the prescription stays at St Mawes and is collected by Faisal and his team, unless the patient has indicated otherwise.
Issues arise when something does not fit the ‘norm’. For example, you may have been given new medication which the doctor has not put onto your record as a ‘repeat’ item – so you handwrite it onto your request slip. This MUST go to the GP for authorising before the prescription is generated for signing. Sometimes the GP may ask to see you before authorising another prescription…..this can cause a delay. Sometimes, we don’t have that particular medication on our shelves. This is not because we don’t want to store it – but we must buy it from our supplier before dispensing and so if we then can’t dispense the item (because the GP doesn’t want you to continue it), we can’t then return it and get our money back. Equally, we don’t have the storage capacity for every type of medication so occasionally, we do have times when we cannot supply medication immediately. However, our wholesalers offer a 24 hour turnaround on orders, so anything ordered before 4 pm, is delivered the following morning.
Once prescriptions are signed, they are then sent to the dispensary at Portscatho. We do hold a small quantity of medications at our branch sites but all routine, repeat prescriptions for our dispensing patients are issued from our main site. The dispensary team are responsible for ensuring that you get the right medication, correctly labelled as per the instructions on the prescription. It must be checked by a second person so that the right drugs go in the right bag which is then labelled for collection. Medication that is required at branch sites for collection is then delivered to Tregony and St Mawes ready for when they are next open. If you would like to collect your medication from a branch site, we can of course arrange this, but please do allow an additional one to two working days.
Any medication that needs to be delivered on our weekly round is stored separately awaiting Tom’s arrival on a Tuesday morning. Tom delivers to housebound patients and drops off medication at Veryan Stores too for residents wishing to collect from there instead.
Medication that needs to be stored in the fridge is kept safely until patients come to the reception desk. If you have other medication as well, the bag on the shelf should have an identifying marker telling the receptionist that she needs to check the fridge for you too.
If patients are on medication which is classed as a ‘controlled drug’, you should be informed of this by the GP prescribing it the first time you have it. Because of strict laws surrounding the issuing of controlled drugs, we cannot dispense this medication until the patient presents at the desk – and we can ONLY dispense controlled drugs from Portscatho. This can mean that upon presenting at the desk, the patient will have to wait a few minutes while the dispensary issue the medication. This is kept in a safe, and we have a Controlled Drugs register that must be completed each time medication is dispensed – that includes the patient detail, the drug, strength, dose and quantity – and this must be written in the register by hand and then signed by two people. This all takes time as you can imagine. Occasionally, a patient will be given a prescription at the hospital which they would like us to dispense. This could be because the hospital pharmacy was closed, or they could not wait for the medication there. We must send this hospital prescription to the GP to change into a Primary Care prescription before we can dispense the medication. Patients asking us to do this must allow the usual two working days for that process to happen.
We have condensed the process here to give our patients an outline of what needs to happen in between receiving your request and actually having the medication ready. However, we do rely on patients allowing AT LEAST two working days for us to do all this, and longer for branch site deliveries. It is when our team is pressured to issue medication outside of this that mistakes can happen.
We therefore respectfully request that our patients, their carers/relatives allow us the time we need to do this very important task correctly and we do appreciate your co-operation with this.
We do get a fee for providing this service and that is the only thing keeping the practice open so we try really hard to get it right and it is important to all of us if we are to maintain a 3 site practice dedicated to the Roseland.
Health Checks for Carers
Are you a carer? Do you look after someone in their own home, helping them with things like getting dressed, shopping, sorting out medication? If so, please let us know. You are entitled to a free health check as a carer and a free ‘flu vaccination in the Autumn. We can also provide you with a Carer’s Information Pack which includes lots of useful resources, not to mention essential information about our Café Roseland where you will find help, support and a social network! Please contact the surgery and ask to speak to Debbie, our secretary for more details.
Roseland Surgeries Patient Group
Our patient group continues to meet monthly here at Portscatho. If you are interested in becoming an active (or virtual) member, do please speak to Nicola.
The Group is responsible for the regular arts classes held at the Memorial Hall and the Roseland Café which operates on alternate Wednesdays (see the additional article on the right). Contact Simone Kennett if you’d like to know more about these sessions 01872 581801.
The Group also runs walking groups in the villages – notices are on display at each of the surgeries, but if you are interested in taking part in any of the walks, please see the contact details here:
St Mawes – Jo Shaw 01326 270179
Portscatho – John Clelland 01872 501014
Our social café continues on alternate Wednesdays at the Memorial Hall in Portscatho, where you can participate in art, board games, knitting/crochet,…….or you can just read a paper while sitting in the comfy chairs with some tea and cake! 1.30 to 4.30 pm – just turn up for a FREE afternoon of socialising (no need to book) This café is for everyone from the the ‘young’ to the ‘young at heart’. New leaflets can be picked up from each surgery site with a handy calendar of dates on the reverse.
Transport can be arranged in advance for those who find it difficult to get out – please speak to Debbie the Practice Secretary.
Dr. Will Hynds MA MB BChir MRCGP DRCOG DCH
Dr. Terese Tubman BMed MRCGP DipFFP
Dr Jonathan Jacoby MB BCh BSc (Hons) MRCGP