PCTs urge GPs to limit prescriptions to 28 days

PCT drives to reduce medicines wastage are increasing costs for patients, causing some to decide not to have their prescriptions dispensed, a Leicester patient group has warned.

In May, as part of an initiative to cut drug waste, Leicester City PCT issued new prescribing guidelines to GPs, recommending they issue prescriptions for 28 days' supply wherever possible.

Patients who used to receive prescriptions for two or three months' supply of medicines are now only receiving 28-day prescriptions, Zuffar Haq, chairman of Leicester Patients Group, told Healthcare Republic. Patients are therefore having to pay the £7.10 prescription charge two or three times for the same amount of medicine.

Mr Haq said the group had heard from a number of patients who had not collected medicines because they could not afford the prescription charges. He pointed out that many patients found themselves in a gap where they faced increased prescription costs without being prescribed enough medicines to justify paying for a prepayment certificate.

Leicester City PCT said that, although it recommended 28-day prescribing, this was a guide and that doctors needed to be flexible. Other PCTs have similar guidelines on 28-day prescribing. Worcestershire PCT's guidelines, for instance, ‘strongly recommend' 28-day prescriptions for most patients.

tom.moberly@haymarket.com

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