Bere Regis Village Website

Bere Regis Surgery Information

We are aware that some of our patients have recently been experiencing problems and delays in receiving their medications from the dispensary and we are sorry that this has been happening.

The two Bank Holidays in May along with staff sickness has meant that the workload has built up significantly and our dispensing team have been working hard to process prescriptions in a safe and timely fashion but unfortunately there has been an increase in the time it has taken to get medication ready for our patients.

To address this backlog of work our dispensing team have been working overtime and have come in at weekends and we hope some planned changes to how the dispensary is organised will lead to improved efficiency in the near future.

To help patients understand why it takes time for prescriptions to be made up below is an outline of the repeat medication dispensing process to give patients a better understanding of how long it takes to safely dispense medication.

    1. Prescription request received in the dispensary, this may be via the NHS App, hand written and posted through the letterbox or returning the medication list from a previous prescription with the requested items ticked. On average we receive 50 to 100 requests a day (considerably more on a Monday or following a Bank Holiday) that need to be sorted and allocated to the correct patient.
    2. Once the correct patient has been identified the medication list on their records is checked and the requested items selected. In some cases these items may need to be reviewed and authorised by a Dr or our clinical Pharmacist as most repeats are only authorised for issuing for either a set period of time or as a set number e.g 6 consecutive issues. This ensures that medications are regularly monitored by the Dr’s to ensure they are still appropriate and safe to take.  
    3. If there is no need for any monitoring blood tests, authorisation of medication or changes to the dose the labels which contain the directions for the medication are printed along with the prescription slip (called an FP10) and bundled with all the other repeat medications that are due to be issued that day.
    4. These prescription slips are signed by the GP and the relevant medication is ‘picked’ from the shelf and checked to ensure it is matches the details on the FP10, that it is in date and is the correct formulation (tablet/liquid/capsule etc). The medicines then have the appropriate labels attached and are put into a basket with the prescription slip for their 2nd check. If a particular medication is unavailable then this is either marked as ‘owing’ for issue at a later date or if it is out of stock from our suppliers (an increasingly common problem) a message is left for the Dr or Pharmacist to consider an alternative strength/formulation or even an equivalent but different medicine.
    5. Once the medication has been checked for a second time by a dispenser to ensure the correct medication has been ‘picked’, labelled and added to the basket it is countersigned and placed into a bag and then onto a numbered shelf ready for collection. The prescription slip is filed alphabetically with details of which shelf the medication is located and added to a list for the reception team to contact via text message to inform that it is ready for collection.
    6. When a patient comes to collect their medication having received a text message their details are checked, their prescription slip found, and their medication located on the shelf and handed out.

As you can see this process is quite labour intensive with numerous ‘checks’ along the way to ensure the right medications are given to the right patients with the correct directions on them. This is why it takes a minimum of 3 WORKING days to process a repeat medication request.

Currently we dispense around 7000 items a month which is around 1750 items a week or 350 items a day! You can understand that along with dealing with dispensary queries, ordering stock, managing our controlled drug register and tracking down alternatives for out of stock medication that even a minor problem such as a member of staff being sick or a bank holiday can have quite a large knock on effect on the speed and safety at which we can process prescriptions.

We are looking at the use of technology to try and streamline the above process. We are hoping we are able to put changes in place over the next few months to improve our efficiency and safety. In the meantime there are a number of things patients can do to help us to keep everything running as smoothly as possible.
    1. Only order what you need rather than simply ‘ticking every box’ on your repeat list as this avoids not only extra work for our dispensers but prevents medication being wasted
    2. Remember that it takes a minimum of 3 WORKING days to process a prescription (e.g Monday-Friday). Therefore if a repeat is requested on a Friday the earliest it will be ready is the following Wednesday as our team do not work at weekends.
    3. Ensure you do not wait until you have nearly run out of or have run out of medication to put in your request.
    4. Do not order too early and please wait for the confirmation text message before coming to collect medication you have ordered.
    5. If you do find that you have run out or will imminently run out of medication please leave a message via reception for the duty Pharmacist or Dr to deal with.
    6. If you are unable to order your medication online it is most likely that it needs to be authorised by a Pharmacist or Dr so please leave a message via reception for this rather than asking for a ‘medication review’ as we generally will contact patients direct if a review is required.

Hopefully the above helps in understanding how the dispensary works and how we can all work together to ensure we can continue to provide an efficient and safe dispensing service.  Without a dispensary and our patients using this for their medication (as opposed to online pharmacies or local chemists) the practice would not remain financially viable.  Indeed, without the dispensary there would not be a GP surgery in Bere Regis so please bear with us; help us to help you and continue to use us or lose us!