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Patients ‘don’t have time’ to collect prescriptions


4 January 2012

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Patients stand accused of wasting GPs’ time as it is revealed many fail pick up prescriptions from pharmacies.

Of the 2,000 patients surveyed, almost 33% failed to collect medication prescribed by their GP.

While most patients said they “didn’t have the time” to pick up prescriptions, others said they didn’t want to have to pay for the medication; they would rather get better by themselves; and rather more disappointingly, they simply “couldn’t be bothered”.


Patients stand accused of wasting GPs’ time as it is revealed many fail pick up prescriptions from pharmacies.

Of the 2,000 patients surveyed, almost 33% failed to collect medication prescribed by their GP.

While most patients said they “didn’t have the time” to pick up prescriptions, others said they didn’t want to have to pay for the medication; they would rather get better by themselves; and rather more disappointingly, they simply “couldn’t be bothered”.

Furthermore, 34% of patients on regular medication also admitted to “forgetting” to pick up repeat prescriptions.

“Given the ever-increasing pressure on the NHS and on primary care in particular, it is disappointing to discover that patients who have taken the time and trouble to visit their GP do not complete the episode of healthcare by having their prescription filled,” said Julian Harrison, Commercial Director at Pharmacy2U – commissioner of the survey.

“Particularly worrying are the numbers of patients on repeat prescriptions who regularly forget to pick up medication and run out. Among them are people suffering from serious, long-term complaints such as diabetes, asthma and COPD, where compliance is crucial.”

One in eight patients surveyed owned up to losing a prescription in the past, while nearly 60% had found the same treatment cheaper over the counter.

How can the NHS clamp down on patient non-compliance? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Let’s help patients!
1. Enable them to collect prescription direct from GP surgery as is the case in many rural areas OR signpost them to nearest pharmacy with details of pharmacy opening hours/waiting times etc. Many patients don’t drive so can’t easily access pharmacies such as those in out of town supermarkets.
2. Ensure patients who need help with prescription costs are actively given the forms necessary to claim this help and someone from the GP surgery helps them to fill out the forms if necessary.
3. Remind patients on long term treatment that next prescription is due at least a week in advance.
4. Don’t blame patients – try to understand their complex lives and their what the real reasons are behind not taking medicine – maybe they are frightened of diagnosis, side effects, don’t think GP got the diagnosis right etc etc etc.
5. Utilise local pharmacists to help with this in terms of spending time with patients who don’t collect their prescriptions” – C Chapman, Devon

“Go back to 1947 when as part of the original NHS deal the patient was REQUIRED to follow the directions of their doctor. That was the deal for NHS treatment and also the deal for a sick note. But such patronising times are long past so society must either accept being patronised or having their taxes wasted. It must choose” – Peter Holden, Derbyshire

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