Is this a familiar scenario in your practice?
Busy receptionist answers phone: Mary Murphy wants her “usual tablets”. Receptionist writes a long list of medication on a sticky note while trying to avoid eye contact with another patient standing before her, though it’s difficult to hear over the radio blaring in the crowded waiting room. GP hovers impatiently at her shoulder with an urgent request.
Later, the receptionist finds time to generate the repeat prescription, trying to remember exactly which of the four Mary Murphy’s on the practice list actually phoned. Adds script to the large pile awaiting GP’s signature. GP is running late, and quickly signs a bundle of repeat prescriptions between consultations (without the “usual rigorous” checking!). One in 550 repeat prescriptions contains a serious error.1
Could this be you? Repeat prescribing can be a win-win situation: good for patients and good for doctors. It is convenient for patients and practices can experience a more structured workload, fewer “urgent” requests, fewer phone calls and less traffic at reception.
Repeat prescribing has been described as: “A partnership between patients and prescriber that allows the prescriber to authorise a prescription so it can be repeatedly issued at agreed intervals, without the patient having to consult the prescriber at each issue.”
However, “The authorising prescriber must ensure that arrangements are in place for any necessary monitoring of usage and effects, and for the regular assessment of the continuing need for the repeat prescription.”2 Repeat prescribing accounts for some 75% of prescriptions issued in general practice, with approximately half of all patients receiving repeat prescriptions.3 One in eight patients has prescribing or monitoring errors in their repeat prescription.1