Health Technologies

Norfolk and Waveney ICS plans new repeat prescription service for digitally excluded patients – htn

Norfolk and Waveney ICS has announced plans to develop a new service to support digitally excluded patients across the system with their repeat prescription requests, following a survey launched in October 2023 on the current service, which garnered over 2,700 responses and highlighted key themes including the impact on people who are not comfortable with digital tools or do not have access to them, and the need to ensure that any future service is available equitably across the footprint.

The existing service, prescription ordering direct (POD), allows patients to order their repeat prescriptions over the phone or online. The ICB notes that whilst the service received praise in the feedback, it is not an equitable offering as it is available in 18 of the 105 GP practices in Norfolk and Waveney.

Regarding next steps, the ICB will undertake “detailed work with local authority digital exclusion teams” as well as local partners in order to the develop the new service. An update on the new service is expected later in the year.

The POD service is to be disestablished from June, replaced by a “smaller roving team of expert pharmacy technical staff who will support GP surgeries with prescription ordering across the whole of Norfolk and Waveney.” This will include a “core of specialist call handlers” staying on a temporary basis to support vulnerable and digitally excluded service users until new service is running.

Andy Yacoub, chief executive at Healthwatch Suffolk, has commented that the ICB is “acknowledging the importance of taking a digital first, but not digital only, approach to ensuring people can access their medication and receive advice. This is critical for those who may not have the means, support or skills to be able to engage with digital services, and who have expressed genuine worries about their access to medication in the future.”

He added encouragement for the ICB to involve people in coordinating the new service, stating: “It is only by listening and responding to people’s lived experiences that we can hope to create services that work for everyone now, and in the future.”

Also from the region, earlier in the month we shared how Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital went live with its shared care record.

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