A PHARMACY worker has sounded worries elderly people could miss out on medication due to prescriptions changes. 

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) across the Tees Valley have backed a move stopping patients ordering drugs via their pharmacist to save £2m a year.

Instead, they will order repeat prescriptions through their GP practice from this September.

But Cllr Tina Large, who works in a pharmacy, was concerned about elderly people slipping through the net at the latest adult social care and health select committee. 

The Northern Echo: Cllr Tina Large. Picture: Stockton CouncilCllr Tina Large. Picture: Stockton Council

The independent member for Mandale and Victoria, said: “It’s going to be very interesting how they expect it to work and for everyone to go online.

“There are a lot of elderly people who won’t be able to do that and a lot of elderly people who have repeat dispensing – there’s nothing been said about what’s going to happen to them. 

“I work in a pharmacy and I have a patient who’s 90 – we get 12 months-worth of prescriptions at the moment for repeat dispensing – what’s going to happen with that? Are we going to have to say to that lady you’re just going to have to do it yourself? There’s been nothing back about that – they’re going to have somebody in the surgeries to advise you but nobody has been put in place. We’re now into July and people are now getting frightened.”

The moves, which will kick in from September 2, are aiming to cut down on medical waste and improve patient safety. 

Health chiefs conceded the changes would not be suitable for a “small number of patients” – and that it may be appropriate for pharmacies to continue to support them with repeat prescriptions. 

They also added the project would identify these patients and put in special arrangements.

At the launch of the change, Dr Janet Walker medical director for the CCGs, said: “The project has been adopted from similar work already implemented in other areas such as Sunderland, South Sefton and Luton."

After the Stockton meeting, a CCG spokesman said: “Throughout the planning for this change, we have been very mindful of those vulnerable patients who will need support from their community pharmacy when it comes to ordering and giving advice on their repeat medication. 

“There will be a cohort of patients in this situation who will still be able to use the community pharmacy to assist them.”