People who use Prescription Ordering Direct to arrange their repeat medication are being told to carry on as normal after a decision was made to discontinue the system.
Prescription Ordering Direct (POD), which allows some patients to arrange their repeat medication by phone or email, will be discontinued in its current form later in the year, with the practices and care homes that use the system offering repeat prescribing instead.
The decision was made following a period of engagement, during which the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) worked with local health and care providers, including colleagues in GP practices, care homes and pharmacies, to look at potential alternatives to the current POD model.
People who regularly use POD are advised to continue ordering their medicines in the usual way through the system, and not to order any more than is needed.
The ICB is now focusing on ensuring a smooth transition away from POD and is offering support to the 85 colleagues affected by the closure.
Dr Amanda Webb, Chief Medical Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “We recognise that POD is a popular and well-valued function to a number of our patients, and the decision to close has not been taken lightly.
“When we look at our region as a whole, only 25 of our 88 GP practices are linked up with POD, which means patients at the other 63 surgeries do not have access, and order medicines either through their practice or via the NHS App.
“This level of inequity is unsustainable, especially as all GP practices receive funding to provide repeat prescribing to their respective patients in-house.
“Our thanks go out to our hard-working POD colleagues, all of whom have provided invaluable service over the last seven years, and we will be doing all we can over the next few weeks to provide support as and where is necessary.”
Prescription Ordering Direct was first introduced by the former Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group in 2017.
It was then expanded to include some practices in parts of Wiltshire and later in Bath and North East Somerset, ahead of the merger of the three CCGs.