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Additional call handlers drafted in for repeat prescription hotline services as patients across Shropshire continue to panic order

By Lisa O'Brien | Telford | Coronavirus | Published:

Additional call handlers have been drafted in as Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin's repeat prescription hotline continues to see unprecedented demand.

On Monday last week, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group’s Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service, which allows patients to reorder medicines, received more than 15,000 calls – compared to the usual number of just over 2,000.

Despite calls for people to stop the panic ordering of unnecessary prescriptions, health bosses say it is continuing and have warned that it is stopping people who really need medication from getting the help they need.

Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups both have separate prescription ordering services, known as POD.

Both services are being flooded with inappropriate requests with people stockpiling and trying to reactivate old prescription requests which are years out-of-date.

Additional call handlers have been drafted in at both PODs to try and help ease the pressure.

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Liz Walker, head of medicines management at Shropshire CCG, said there is a particular problem with people trying to order inhalers when they haven’t used them for years so they have them ‘just in case’.

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She said: "It’s a myth that if you have used an inhaler in the last 10 years then you should ask for one –this is not the case.

"If you do not currently use an inhaler, and do not have any asthma symptoms, then you do not need to order any inhalers and should not be contacting the PODs or your GP.

“This selfish attitude is preventing people who really need their medication from getting through to the POD services.”

Jacqui Seaton, deputy executive for primary care and medicines management at Telford &Wrekin CCG, added: “The main problem is that people are trying to order their medicines early and are stockpiling.

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"People should not be trying to order if they have more than seven days’ supply left and we will not be issuing longer supplies than they usually have."

To help ease the pressure on the phone lines people are being asked to email one of two addresses.

Patients registered with a Shropshire GP practice can email shropshire.pod@nhs.net and those registered with a Telford and Wrekin GP practice should e-mail tw.pod@nhs.net 

Repeat prescription requests can also be submitted electronically by using the NHS app.

Patients can also check their GP practice's website about registering to use ‘patient access’ to submit prescription requests electronically.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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