28 Day Prescribing
The policy for 28 day prescribing has been in operation for many years and has generally been promoted by successive health authorities across the UK with the main emphasis being on the reduction of waste from unused medicines. Studies as far back as 1996 identified a correlation between the value of returns and prescription length and our local evidence from Cumbrian audits continues to confirm that the longer duration of the prescribing the higher the level of waste becomes.
Other reasons for shorter duration prescribing include the need for safety monitoring for some drugs, the ability for some patients to manage their medication and patients whose condition requires frequent changes to dosage.
The Practice is aware of some issues associated with shorter duration prescribing such as increased costs for the Dispensary and inconvenience for patients however the practice policy is in line with the current guidance from the Department of Health that prescribing intervals should be in line with the medically appropriate needs of the patient, taking into account the need to safeguard NHS resources, patient convenience, and the dangers of excess drugs in the home.
We continue to support the view that 28 day prescribing is in line with accepted best practice but that where appropriate the individual patient circumstances will be taken into account. All decisions to implement repeat prescribing are taken by a GP in consultation with the patient and will continue to be reviewed at agreed intervals as part of a standard medication review process.
Dr Andrew Hollings