Ratio of GPs to population falls by a tenth since 2009

Ratio of GPs to population falls by a tenth since 2009

July 13 2018 There were 62.0 GPs per 100,000 population in 2017, a decrease of 11.2% from the...

Dementia risk advice introduced into NHS Health Check

Dementia risk advice introduced into NHS Health Check

June 19 2018 Health professionals providing the NHS Health Check service will be expected to give...

Wales announces £100m to shake up NHS and social care services

Wales announces £100m to shake up NHS and social care services

June 14 2018 Wales is to undergo a significant overhaul of NHS and social care services, the...

Welsh pharmacies to supply flu vaccine for care home workers

Welsh pharmacies to supply flu vaccine for care home workers

June 11 2018 Care home workers in Wales will be eligible for free flu vaccination in the 2018-19...

Flu vaccination by GPs sees increase for 2017-18 season

Flu vaccination by GPs sees increase for 2017-18 season

May 30 2018 Flu vaccine uptake among people aged 65 years or over increased to 72.6% for the...

  • Ratio of GPs to population falls by a tenth since 2009

    Ratio of GPs to population falls by a tenth since 2009

    Friday, 13 July 2018 13:02
  • Dementia risk advice introduced into NHS Health Check

    Dementia risk advice introduced into NHS Health Check

    Tuesday, 19 June 2018 10:15
  • Wales announces £100m to shake up NHS and social care services

    Wales announces £100m to shake up NHS and social care services

    Thursday, 14 June 2018 14:24
  • Welsh pharmacies to supply flu vaccine for care home workers

    Welsh pharmacies to supply flu vaccine for care home workers

    Monday, 11 June 2018 14:07
  • Flu vaccination by GPs sees increase for 2017-18 season

    Flu vaccination by GPs sees increase for 2017-18 season

    Wednesday, 30 May 2018 11:07

a 28 days imageMarch 22 2018

Medicine adherence may benefit in long-term conditions by issuing prescriptions for longer than 28 days.

Researchers have looked at the impact of longer duration prescribing of between two and four months compared to the current 28-day standard. While there was “insufficient evidence relating to the overall impact of differing prescription lengths on clinical and health service outcomes,” the researchers said “studies do suggest medication adherence may improve with longer prescriptions.”

In addition: “UK recommendations to provide shorter prescriptions are not substantiated by the current evidence base.”

The study was led by RAND Europe in Cambridge and funded by the National Institute for Health Research. It looked at studies published since 1993. Nine studies were found that suggested longer prescription frequency in long-term conditions did improve adherence, and six studies suggested that shorter prescription duration might be associated with reduced medicines wastage. However, these studies were considered to be of low quality,

A BMJ Open study from 2017 had also found that “any savings due to reduced waste resulting from issuing shorter prescriptions were more than offset by greater costs due to the additional work required by GPs and pharmacists,” said NIHR.

“Longer prescriptions could save GPs’ time, which could in turn be used to increase time spent with patients. Savings to the NHS from lengthening all prescriptions for statin drugs alone (one of the most commonly prescribed medications) were estimated at £62 million per year.”

One of the authors of the new study, Dr Rupert Payne, from the University of Bristol’s Centre for Academic Primary Care, said that “the current recommendations to issue shorter prescriptions have been based on a lack of sound scientific evidence.”

However, he cautioned that lengthening prescriptions could have undesirable consequences for pharmacists.

“Community pharmacies receive a fee for every prescription they dispense. So simply switching every repeat prescription item from, for example, one month to three months, could result in a large reduction in pharmacy income. Therefore, although the NHS may save money, it could lead to a loss of pharmacy services. Changes to policy around the length of repeat prescriptions should also consider how pharmacies are reimbursed.”

Links:
NIHR announcement   
S King et al. ‘Impact of issuing longer- versus shorter- duration prescriptions: a systematic review’. Br J Gen Pract 12 March 2018; bjgp18X695501           
B Doble et al. ‘Retrospective, multicohort analysis of the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) to determine differences in the cost of medication wastage, dispensing fees and prescriber time of issuing either short (<60 days) or long (≥60 days) prescription lengths in primary care for common, chronic conditions in the UK’. BMJ Open. December 5 2017.     

Contract News

July 27 2018 Adolescent boys will be offered the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine to protect them from cancer, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.
July 20 2018 Doctors are being reminded to ensure that any patient or other records which may be relevant to the UK Infected Blood Inquiry are not destroyed. Earlier this month, the Inquiry’s Chair, Sir...