Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

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Repeat Prescribing Systems in Primary Care – Luton’s approach

I have great pleasure in enclosing the final report from Luton CCG on a system-wide improvement to repeat prescribing services.

As you are no doubt well aware, prescribing is the most common patient-level intervention in the NHS, and covers all sectors of care: primary, hospital, public and community health. It is the second highest area of spending in the NHS, after staffing costs. Nationally, over £9 billion was spent on prescriptions dispensed in the community in 2015, and more than £1 billion items were dispensed.

The majority of prescriptions dispensed in the community are for long term conditions which are managed by repeated and regular medicines use. Repeat prescribing systems provide the governance whereby this use is managed and requires collaboration between the patient, GP practice and dispenser. Luton CCG Medicines Optimisation team identified medicines waste and safety concerns relating to repeat prescribing systems in 2013 and made changes to local systems as a result.

The changes initiated in Luton to limit third party requests for repeat medicines and to improve repeat prescribing systems have led to estimated savings in prescribing of £2 million over 2 years (equal to 7% of the annual primary care prescribing budget) and with evidence of considerable benefits to patients.

The issues identified by the medicines optimisation team locally are not specific to Luton and the measures we took are currently being taken forward by a number of CCGs.

In order to prevent fragmentation, repetition and erosion of potential benefits a national programme of work is recommended. In broad terms, applying the Luton figures at a national level, savings to the entire NHS could amount to over £500 million.

I strongly urge you to read the attached report and welcome further discussion and a collaborative approach.

Colin Thompson

Accountable Officer

i Prescription Cost Analysis, England – 2015 HSCIC


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