You have told us that the Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service, run by the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group, was difficult to contact because the telephone lines were very often busy and calls were held in a queue for a long time which also meant it could be expensive to call. Difficulties in getting through was a particular problem because the repeat prescriptions can only be ordered 7 days in advance and it could take 4 days for the prescription to be fulfilled once it had been passed to the GP practice for signing. We had also received feedback that POD services were cutting things from prescriptions.
We met with the service and discussed the feedback we had received. We received categorical assurances that prescriptions were only ever changed with the agreement of the patient or the GP and the service would like to discuss any problems with the patients involved; we passed this offer on to the group who had contacted us.
The problems with contacting the service were acknowledged and had been identified by staff. The service is in the process of reviewing the use of its telephone system and hopes to have improvements in place imminently. The 4 days for fulfillment is a guide to the maximum time it should take and in many cases it should be quicker depending on the time taken by the GP to sign the prescription and the pharmacy to process it. With regard to the cost of the calls the POD service had decided to use an 03333 number as this is charged at a local rate wherever the call comes from across the county and is included in many mobile telephone inclusive call allowances.