Summary of report content
This project by Healthwatch Leicester and Healthwatch Leicestershire looked at the experience of people who had been prescribed medication from a hospital that then required a repeat prescription from their GP practice. They undertook a survey to which 92 people responded.
A large percentage of the respondents said that they had been prescribed medication by the hospital when they had been treated there and had subsequently needed to have a repeat prescription through their GP practice. However, the highest percentage had said that to obtain their prescription they had not needed to see their GP and they had been able to get their prescription.
Some had needed to see their GP and, in some circumstances, there had been issues with being able to get an appointment in enough time at the end of the medication that they had been given by the hospital. Having prescriptions of less than seven days from the hospital could be creating potential issues for patients who need to have a repeat prescription and require an appointment with their GP to do so.
There were few instances where there had been issues for respondents in being able to get a repeat prescription and these included instances where letters from secondary care providers to their GP practice had been lost or delayed which had impacted on how easily they had been able to get their repeat prescription. Others said that there had been occasions where the dosage had been changed by their GP and this could cause some anxiety for the patients. There were also some reported issues around GPs prescribing the same medication and it was perceived by patients that this was due to the cost of the medication that had been prescribed by the hospital practitioner.
There was little difference between hospitals or the experiences of respondents depending upon the areas that they resided in.
Despite there being some issues raised across the whole number of respondents overall, the experiences of most of the respondents were largely positive and not suggestive of any particularly serious issues with the transfer of care between secondary care and primary care in relation to ongoing prescriptions for medication.
Communication between hospital and GP: There were some respondents who told of letters from the hospital to their GP being lost or late and this had impacted upon the ease with which they were able to obtain a repeat prescription when they needed one. It is recommended that methods of ensuring that letters are delivered in a timely fashion between the hospital and GP such as using electronic communication to speed up delivery.
Longer supply of medication to reduce need for medication: As most respondents said that they had needed to obtain a repeat prescription for the medication that the hospital had initially prescribed, it is recommended that consideration be given to prescribing for longer periods by the hospitals. Whilst this would not remove the need for repeat prescriptions altogether being able reduce the numbers of patient requiring a repeat prescription within a couple of weeks of their initial prescription could reduce the pressure on GP appointments.