Requests for repeat prescriptions are among the top 5 reasons why people ring the GP Out of Hours service every year.
In the first ten months of this year, GP Out of Hours services across Northern Ireland received 10,000 calls from people who had run out of medicine or forgotten to order their repeat prescriptions.
This year, with COVID-19 still prevalent and restrictions on the numbers of people permitted inside premises, the Health and Social Care Board is urging people to allow extra time when getting their prescriptions from GPs and community pharmacists.
Mr Joe Brogan, Head of Pharmacy and Medicines, Health and Social Care Board said “This has been a different and difficult year for many of us, so we’re asking people to plan ahead for some peace of mind during the holidays when to comes to their medicines. If you need a prescription, please allow seven days from when you contact your GP to when you collect it from a pharmacy. This will allow time for both the GP and pharmacy to process your prescription. It would also be very helpful to make sure your pharmacist has your phone number so they can contact you when your prescription is ready.”
Dr Margaret O’Brien, Head of General Medical Services, Health and Social Care Board said, “The different parts of the health and social care system are all feeling the pressure of COVID-19 so we are encouraging people to plan ahead and allow some extra time when ordering their medicines from their GP. The Out of Hours service is for people who require urgent medical care which can’t wait until their daytime GP reopens. With a little planning, you won’t have to worry about running out of medicines or waiting for an Out of Hours nurse or doctor to call you back. This will also help us ensure that those who genuinely require urgent care can get through and be seen quicker, making the best use of valuable health service resources.”
This year, the Pharmacy First service is also being offered at participating community pharmacies. The Pharmacy First service is a winter initiative which enables patients to have a consultation virtually or in a private area with their local community pharmacist.
Pharmacists can offer advice and treatment for common conditions like sore throat and common colds, recommend free-of-charge treatments where necessary, and refer patients to other healthcare professionals as appropriate.