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Self Care

Prescribing for minor conditions

 

There are lots of minor conditions like colds, sore throats and headaches that get better on their own without any need to visit your GP practice.The best approach is to treat the symptoms of these self-limiting ailments with medicines that can be bought cheaply over the counter in shops and community pharmacies, usually for less than the cost of an NHS prescription.

This is better for you because you won't have to wait for an appointment with your GP to get the medication you need to start feeling better. By self-caring, you will be helping the NHS too. We have worked out that every GP in Eastern Cheshire will have up to one hour extra a day to see patients with serious problems if we can persuade people to stop seeing their doctor about self-limiting illnesses. We will also save around £47,000 a month by limiting GP prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for minor conditions. This will help the local NHS to close the gap between the funding it gets from government and the money it needs to carry on buying the services that are available currently.

Read our seven steps to self-caring for minor conditions.

Read about our policy to reduce GP prescribing of over-the-counter medicines for minor conditions.

Click here to read a series of FAQs about the policy.

Read about our financial challenges here.

Our approach to self-care is part of our effort to encourage people to take the best possible care of themselves so they live healthier, happier lives and place less demand on hard-pressed services. Empowerment is one of the eight ambitions of the Caring Together programme to join up health and social care services in Eastern Cheshire.

But encouraging self-care does not mean that you shouldn't seek medical advice if you feel you have reason to be concerned. For example, you should see your GP if your cough has lasted for longer than three weeks or if you have a headache that won't go away.

Self-care is one of the options we promote in our annual Choose Well and Think Pharmacy campaigns, which give people the information they need to get well quickly by choosing the right service at the right time.

Click here for lots of great self-care advice

Click here to read about our policy encouraging people to order repeat prescriptions through their GP practice instead of asking community pharmacies to do it for them. Evidence shows that this is safer and reduces medicines waste.

 

Putting patients in control of their repeat prescriptions

Introducing our patient-led repeat prescription ordering service

Across Cheshire we are working with our GP practices and pharmacies to support patients to take charge of ordering their own repeat prescriptions. This is an initiative we are taking with NHS South Cheshire CCG and NHS Vale Royal CCG.

We know that many of our patients manage their own repeat prescriptions by placing their requests with their GP surgery directly or by ordering them online. However, some patients use a community pharmacy service to place their repeat prescription order on their behalf.

We are encouraging patients to order their medicines themselves through their doctor’s surgery because experience around the country suggests that this is safer and reduces waste. When a pharmacy orders on behalf of a patient, they do not always know when medicines have been changed or how much stock a patient already has. This can sometimes mean that medicines are being ordered that are not needed, which can lead to some patients building up a stock pile of medicines at home. So, putting patients in control of ordering their own medicines through their GP practice is safer and can reduce waste.

What is changing?

Several GP practices across Cheshire are no longer accepting repeat prescription requests directly from pharmacies for most patients. This change will not affect people who already order their own repeat prescriptions from their GP surgery.

We are asking patients to order their own medicines using one of the following options:

  • Order Online - Register for the Patient Access system that allows you to order your repeat prescription online or by using an app on your mobile phone, and also allows you to book appointments and manage your details
  • Drop off or post - Use the right-hand side of your repeat prescription to tick the items you need and drop it off or post it to the GP surgery
  • Repeat Dispensing - Ask if you can take part in “repeat dispensing” at your next routine GP appointment (for more information about repeat dispensing click here for a leaflet).

How will I know if this affects me?

Listed below are the Eastern Cheshire GP practices that are currently making this change to the way that repeat prescriptions are ordered. Each practice will write to those patients who will be expected to order their own repeat prescription.

Dr Mark Dickinson, head of prescribing and medicines optimisation for the three CCGs, said: “We believe that patients are best placed to know of any changes that have been made to their medicines agreed with prescribers, and what medicines they have used in the past month, and can therefore order what they need.

“We expect that patients taking control of the medicines they order will improve safety and also reduce medicines waste at a time of significant financial challenge.”

What you can do to help

Here are a few things that you can do to support this scheme:

  • Order your own prescriptions through your GP surgery and only order what you need
  • If you get your medicines delivered, check them and ask the delivery driver to take back anything that is not needed
  • Let your doctor know if you have stopped taking anything on your repeat prescription so these items can be removed
  • Attend review appointments with your pharmacist or doctor to see if your medicines list is still up to date and meeting your needs.

Click here to find out how to order your repeat prescriptions.

Click here to learn more about why we're putting patients in charge of ordering repeat prescriptions.

Your Pharmacy

Your local community pharmacist can still offer you support and advice as well as giving you hints and tips on how you can self care. While some practices will no longer accept repeat prescription orders from community pharmacy, pharmacies can still support patients by:

  • Collecting repeat prescriptions from the surgery or receiving them electronically for dispensing
  • Providing a delivery service for medicines and other items when appropriate.

 For more information about this change, take a look at our patient information leaflet.

If you feel that you or someone you know won’t be able to manage with this change, please contact your GP surgery for advice.