Untitled design (17)

Patients told to carry on as normal for now, as decision on POD future is made

People in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire who use Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) to arrange their repeat medication are being told to carry on as normal, after a decision on the system’s future was made earlier this week.  

POD, which allows some patients to arrange their repeat medication by phone or email, is set to discontinue in its current form later in the year, with the practices and care homes that use the system offering repeat prescribing instead.  

The decision was made following a rigorous period of engagement, during which the ICB worked with local health and care providers, including colleagues in GP practices, care homes and pharmacies, to look at potential alternatives to the current POD model. 

People who regularly use POD are advised to continue ordering their medicines in the usual way through POD, and not to order any more than is needed.  

The ICB is now focusing on ensuring a smooth transition away from POD and offering support to the 85 colleagues affected by the closure. 

Dr Amanda Webb, Chief Medical Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “We recognise that POD is a popular and well-valued function to a number of our patients, and the decision to close has not been taken lightly.  

“When we look at our region as a whole, only 25 of our 88 GP practices are linked up with POD, which means patients at the other 63 surgeries do not have access, and order medicines either through their practice or via the NHS App. 

“This level of inequity is unsustainable, especially as all GP practices receive funding to provide repeat prescribing to their respective patients in-house.

“Our thanks go out to our hard-working POD colleagues, all of whom have provided invaluable service over the last seven years, and we will be doing all we can over the next few weeks to provide support as and where is necessary.” 

POD was first introduced by the former Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in 2017. 

It was then expanded to include some practices in parts of Wiltshire and later in Bath and North East Somerset, ahead of the merger of the three CCGs.  

POD transferred to the newly created ICB after the dissolution of CCGs in July 2022.  

The role of an ICB differs from that of a CCG in that it has been set up to commission and contract patient-facing systems, rather than to be the actual provider. 

ICBs are also responsible for, wherever possible, restoring equity within the health and care system, while still ensuring that NHS provision in the region meets the needs of local people and provides taxpayers with value for money. 

More information on the transition away from the ICB-led POD will be shared with people and communities over the coming weeks.  

Further details on the ICB, as well as all local health and care services, can be found online at www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk.