Managing your medicines through the Coronavirus outbreak

Dr Tim Dalton, Local GP and Chair of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, wrote his latest article on how you should manage your medicines through the Coronavirus outbreak.

 

Last week people stood on their doorsteps to clap for the NHS staff and carers who are working incredibly hard during the Coronavirus pandemic. I’ve heard lots of examples of kindness and gratitude that has given colleagues a much needed morale boost. In addition, I see the whole health and care system pulling together to make sure we’re best prepared for the weeks and months to come.

We’ve paused most of our routine work in the NHS to focus everyone’s efforts on getting us through what will be an extremely difficult time for both the NHS and the country as a whole. During this unprecedented event the pressure on services and staff is immense. Now, more than ever, we need people to play their part and think of others by using health and care services appropriately.

One of our challenges is around medicines. In the last few weeks we’ve seen people ordering and buying more medicine. This situation is similar to what we’ve seen with food and toiletries and is worrying from my perspective. The increased demand for both prescribed and over the counter medicines is placing huge pressure on GP Practices and Pharmacies.

Here are five things you can do for the NHS to help us, help you:

  1. Only order medicines you need for the next month.

Don’t stockpile. Don’t order early. Don’t over order. There will be enough medicine for everyone if we follow these rules.

  1. Only request home delivery services if you really, really need to!

There has been an increase in the demand for home delivery of medicines. We need to make sure that these delivery services are available for people who truly don’t have any other means of getting their medicine. So, if you have friends, family or neighbours who could collect your medicines please ask them to do so.

  1. Don’t ask your GP for items just because you haven’t been able to get them elsewhere.

We’ve seen an increase in people ringing their GP practice to try and get new items on prescription. Your GP practice won’t prescribe items that you don’t normally get.

  1. Order repeat prescriptions online.

Registering for online services at your GP practice will enable you to order repeat prescriptions online. You can also set up for your electronic prescription to go directly to the pharmacy of your choice.

  1. Be careful if you’re buying medication online.

If you’re thinking of buying medication online it’s important to check you are buying from a registered pharmacy. You can check this out on the General Pharmaceutical Council Website.

By following this guidance you’ll be helping the NHS to cope a little better during this time. Please spread the word and encourage family and loved ones to do the same. You can find more information on the “Electronic Repeat Prescriptions” section on our website www.healthierwigan.nhs.uk.