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Public thanked for their feedback on the future of Prescription Ordering Direct

Senior leaders at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board have welcomed recent feedback on repeat prescribing in the region, as well as comments specifically about Prescription Ordering Direct.

The views of local people have come at a time when the future of POD, which allows patients to order their prescribed medication over the phone or online, is currently being reviewed.

Health leaders are keen to fully understand what works well with the current system and what could be improved, while also exploring alternative options.

As it stands, patients from only 24 of the region’s 87 GP practices are able to use POD, which means most people in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire order their medication in alternative ways, such as through the NHS App.

This current arrangement means there is an imbalance among local people, and is why the ICB has undertaken an exercise to look at potentially introducing changes to make the system fairer, while still offering support to those who need additional help arranging their regular medication. 

Dr Amanda Webb, Chief Medical Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “Our decision to explore alternatives to POD has not been taken lightly.

“We know that POD, along with its colleagues, is very highly valued, not just by the ICB, but by patients and those working in primary care.

“However, we must be mindful that repeat prescribing in our region needs to be offered equitably, and this currently isn’t the case.

“It’s important that we do whatever we can to create a level playing field locally, and the views, thoughts and opinions that have been shared over the last few weeks will help us to achieve that.”

Views on repeat prescribing were captured by Healthwatch Wiltshire through face-to-face and online surveys, while comments from a broad range of local stakeholders, such as those working in GP practices and care homes, relating specifically to POD have been gathered by the ICB

This valuable insight will now be considered by members of the executive management team at the ICB, who are due to make a final decision on POD before the end of the year.

Once this decision has been made, staff who work in POD, such as clinical pharmacists and telephone call handlers, will be informed first, ahead of a wider announcement to the public and other health and care colleagues.  

If the ICB’s decision has an impact on the way prescriptions are managed, such changes will be introduced over time.

While the window for feedback has now closed, people who have questions and queries about POD can still receive answers by sending an email to the Patient Advice and Liaison Services team at scwcsu.palscomplaints@nhs.net.