"Why are some GPs ignoring these guidelines?"

About: Local Doctors surgeries

(as the patient),

If you pay for your prescriptions and your GP has cut yours down to 28 days instead of the usual 3 months then please read on…

Extract from N.P.C. Connect, issue 55 December 2008.

It is also important to ensure that the patient’s perspective is considered when making decisions about prescription duration.

Many prescribers, as a matter of policy, now routinely write prescriptions for 28 days. However, where patients have stable long-term conditions, and can manage their stocks of medicines effectively, prescriptions for longer periods may be more suitable and more convenient for patients. In determining how much of a medicine to prescribe, prescribers should first ensure that the prescription meets the clinical needs of the patient.

However, it is important that the views and circumstances of the patient are considered when decisions are taken about their clinical management.

Factors to take into account when considering prescription duration for individual patients as exceptions to the usual prescribing policy include:

• Stability of the patient’s condition and how often their clinical management is to be reviewed

• The risk of important side effects and hence the need for more frequent monitoring (taking into account the patient’s clinical history)

• How likely it is that the patient will take the medicine as they intended

• Safety considerations associated with storing the particular medicine in the home

• Patient convenience including, where relevant, cost in prescription charges

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