CCGs banning pharmacies from ordering prescriptions for patients and online ordering
As more of you are experiencing and many of you may have read, and increasing number of CCGs are banning pharmacies from requesting prescriptions for patients and 40% of CCGs are considering making the move.
There is no legal basis for this and the “savings” that some, including Luton, have widely publicised have not been independently scrutinised. This also runs counter to what the DoH claims to want to have, namely a national managed repeat service provided by Pharmacy but still, it seems to be a growing band wagon
For pharmacies this poses some problems.
Business wise, independents need to be involved in the process as much as possible; otherwise your whole brand risks being eroded as all the good stuff is negated. E.G. If a customer orders six items from their surgery and then comes into your pharmacy two days later expecting everything to be there but you only have four prescription items to download from the spine for them, you get all the grief; it’s never the surgery’s fault. If the customer is a delivery patient, the only interaction they will generally have with you is your Van or a negative interaction because they have to call regarding an item they were expecting that’s not been delivered. If it’s just a van then, one van is pretty much the same as another. If the customer only really ever deals with the surgery and gets deliveries, does it matter whose van delivers? Not really. Also, the more a customer deals with their surgery and not you, the more control the surgery has, whether it be marketing (getting the customers into the surgery for the flu jab before you can contact them) or nudging your customers to use another pharmacy the surgery partnership has invested in or their own internet pharmacy etc.
For patients, it is far from ideal. Some of the surgery online systems aren’t that user friendly or mobile optimised and they don’t send reminders tgo re-order. As we all know, trying to get hold of a surgery is a soul destroying nightmare most of the time. We have heard reports of patients queuing around the block at some surgeries. Many CCGs and surgeries have completely underestimated the volume of work that pharmacies were dealing with. We hear reports from some of our pharmacy customers that some surgeries are ignoring their own CCG as they do not want to take on the extra burden of dealing with all patient prescription requests.
LPCs need to be more forceful in pushing back. Mainly CCGs have used a small number dodgy independents or more usually, industrial scale, systematic over-ordering by Lloyds and Boots as their rationale. Most independents do not do this and actively check to see if the customer is ordering an item they no longer need. There is a huge difference between a pharmacy deciding off their own bat to order for a customer with no input from the customer and a customer requesting their scripts from their pharmacy which then reviews and checks/corrects the requests before passing the customer’s request onto the surgery. Pharmacies doing this are saving the surgery time and saving the CCG unnecessary drug expense.
Check back for part 2 soon on some tweaks we have made to the online repeat ordering functionality in our website platform for independents and how we think in future we can do an end run around this if the DoH doesn’t come out with a national policy or CCGs are legally challenged.