One of the areas we frequently discuss with patients is how we manage the process of prescribing medication and the controls that we put in place to ensure that any ongoing prescribing is as safe as possible. We hope the explanation below clarifies what can seem a complex area:
It is considered safe practice for GPs to periodically review repeat prescriptions. How often this needs to be done can vary from just once a year to every few days, depending on the medication, the condition it is prescribed for, and the stability of that condition.
When your GP issues your repeat prescriptions in a consultation, they provide them for a time period considered to be safe for your individual circumstances. We understand the end of this time period may not always be a convenient time to book a consultation, so are usually happy to extend the prescription by up to a month to allow time for the next review to be arranged.
Beyond this, we would strongly encourage a patient to see a GP to ensure safe and appropriate follow-up. If a patient remains unwilling to see a GP, we have to weigh the risks and benefits of continuing to issue the medication without such follow-up. In some cases, this may mean the prescriptions are shortened or stopped.
This may apply even when under the care of a specialist, as when prescriptions are signed by a GP, it is the GP’s responsibility to ensure appropriate assessment has taken place.
Your GP will be happy to discuss the appropriate frequency of medication review for you at your next consultation.