PERFORMANCE: The primary care trust has discovered that some pharmacies on its patch have been ordering repeat prescriptions on behalf of patients without their informed consent.

A report to NHS Oldham’s February board said it was “now common practice for community pharmacies to order repeat prescriptions on behalf of many patients”.

It continued: “It has become apparent that in some instances repeat prescriptions are now being ordered on behalf of the patient without the fully informed consent of the patient.

“In some community pharmacies prescriptions are being ordered with the patient not being asked about each individual item, but instead asked if they want all their medicines next time. This may also occur well in anticipation of the next order being due.

“This potentially means that medicines may be ordered for a patient that they may not actually be taking anymore when they receive them. This constitutes a clinical risk and is obviously unnecessary,” the report warns.

Repeat prescriptions make up around 70 per cent of those paid for out of the PCT’s drugs budget, and it also has to pay for unused medicines to be collected and destroyed.

The report proposed to develop a joint approach to the issue with Oldham’s Local Pharmaceutical Committee, which would outline a “more tightly controlled process” for pharmacists to follow.