Collection of Prescriptions

Collection of Prescriptions

At present, it is necessary for patients to travel, usually by car, to the Medical Centre to collect prescription medicines/medications. The lead time is 5 working days for repeat prescriptions (a week, sometimes more if there is a public holiday in the interval) and there is no mechanism for knowing when the prescription is actually available to collect. It should be possible, taking a leaf out of Amazon's book, to email patients as to the status of the request. In this age of carbon sensitivity, there must be a better way of delivering prescriptions than having patients drive up to to miles to collect a prescription. Drones have been mentioned for the future but use of the postal system in the first instance, or a local carrier, merits investigation. In the round, a ppostal charge of - say - £2.00 is well below the cost of the patient car miles and far less carbon intense.


Prescriptions can be collected and delivered by your local pharmacy ask at the medical centre reception to have your prescription delivered there and for it to be delivered to you from the chemist.

Your prescriptions are free/included in the Scottish Government NHS budget, we all need to take some accountability for our own healthcare. Repeat prescriptions are more compliacted than just requesting them online etc it takes clinical time to ensure safety and that we as patients have been attending our appointments for the required checks. Gps have hundreds of requests everyday that need the same attention to detail and must be greatly time consuming. The NHS is not thankfully amazon!

'Bringback Localservices' is very lucky. Here, in the Western Isles, the pharmacy is the hub GP practice and it delivers only to its satellite medical centres (formerly surgeries in their own right). A round trip of up to 20 miles by car, or a lift in someone else's car, is required to collect a prescription. During lockdown, prescriptions were delivered by the local community shop with shopping deliveries but this was stopped when lockdown came off.

I fully accept all of the points contributed by 'Anon'. However, these have no bearing whatsoever on my suggestion for an improved NHS(S). We are in a Climate Emergency. The central point I made was that an improved prescription distribution system would avoid return journeys by their own vehicle of up to 20 miles by every individual who needs a prescription. If this suggestion is looked at in greater detail, the first step would be to undertake a carbon (fuel) audit of a typical remote rural practice taking account of patient journeys as well as NHS(S) journeys. More carbon-efficient options would be explored, such as using the postal service or a carrier who are already covering the district every day. ...continued....

I made two subsidiary points. The first was that the lead time of five working days, which has to be overlaid with the three days per week that the collection point is open, often results in patients doing the travelling but failing to collect. If it was possible to shorten the lead time to (say) the three working days which applied until a couple of years ago, there would be less nugatory journeys, as well as a better service.

The final subsidiary point concerns my comparison with Amazon. Love it or hate it, it must be universally agreed that this company has a wonderful system for acknowledging orders, emailing when they have been dispatched and forecasting delivery. None of these is currently part of the NHS(S) Practice's routine but if they were, patients would be confident that prescriptions requests had been received and were being organised, so that the nugatory, carbon-releasing journeys need not take place. Amazon has the developed the computer systems to handle this customer interface so there would be no need to embark on a new IT project. Indeed, perhaps Amazon could be encouraged to repay some of its debt to society by donating the IT system!

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