‘Telephone ordering risks safety’

WESTWOOD Surgery has defended a new policy preventing patients from ordering prescriptions via telephone.

Monday, 8th October 2012, 11:26 am

The new policy, which came into effect from 1st October, means patients now have to visit the surgery in person, post a request or go online if they wish to order a prescription.

Guardian reader Mrs Pridmore, of Manton, said she was extremely concerned about the changes and said it showed a disregard for patients’ needs.

“Have the elderly and disabled actually been considered?” she said.

“I can’t see many popping the computer on to order anything. I for one wouldn’t know where to start.”

“It looks like another trip out for us locals and for those of us who struggle getting out, the winter is looking bleak already.”

A spokesman for Danum Medical Services Ltd, the company which runs Westwood Surgery, said they are constantly reviewing their services to ensure that patient safety is ‘paramount’.

“Errors in requests or transcription of repeat medication via the telephone has been highlighted within our organisation as a risk to patient safety,” he said.

“It is not an unusual step to withdraw the method of requests within modern general practice and brings Westwood into line with our other services.”

The spokesman added that repeat prescribing systems have an important role in ensuring the review of patients’ medicines, patient safety and in minimising medicine wastage.

“Modern medicines are complex, names are confusingly similar for very different problems and high levels of multiple medication for chronic disease - particularly in the elderly, means accurate prescribing is essential,” he said.

“Repeat prescribing is for the convenience of patients and has to be safe and authorised.”

He added that request order slips can be handed in or sent to the surgery, as well as ordered online.

“The right hand side of the prescription acts as an order slip and clearly identifies the patient, the items that can be ordered, which medication is being requested and when clinical reviews are due. This allows for accurate requests to be processed quickly,” he said.

“We also offer repeat dispensing for patients on stable long term medication where by medication can be picked up from a chosen pharmacy for an agreed period without a request to the surgery.”

Our Facebook readers have commented on the story this week - most of them defending the service provided at Westwood Surgery.

Amelia Jackson said she was extremely happy with the service provided by receptionists and doctors at the Manton practice and defended the decision to stop telephone prescription ordering.

“I must say this is very good practice,” she said.

“I moved here six months ago and have nothing but praise - I relocated from the Birmingham area where it is the norm for practices not to accept orders over the phone.”

Has your surgery stopped telephone prescription ordering?

Let us know what you think - email [email protected] or call 01909 500500.