Exclusive GPs may need to revert to paper prescriptions rather than electronic to allow patients to obtain antibiotics from pharmacies that have them in stock, according to local NHS guidance issued in light of ‘rapidly fluctuating’ stock levels.
The UK Government has denied reports of a shortage in antibiotics used to treat Strep A despite claims by national pharmaceutical representatives.
However, in an email issued by Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board’s medicines optimisation team, seen by Pulse, GPs are encouraged to take steps to help manage the situation.
This includes reserving liquid medicines for those that cannot take tablets or capsules, advising patients that they may need to try several pharmacies to find items, and exploring the possibility of regular stock reports from local pharmacies.
GPs were also told to expect to re-do scripts if pharmacists did not have the right medicines in stock and, when prescribing antibiotics, doing so on a separate script to any other medications. They have also been asked to consider sending EPS prescriptions with a one-off nomination, no nomination or issuing a paper FP10, which is easier to take to different pharmacies.
‘This is a national problem and will affect all pharmacies and is starting to affect dispensing practices. Community pharmacy is doing its best to manage what is a national problem caused by global issues and are trying to ensure they have stock available, however, it will vary across the system, and from day to day,’ the email said.
‘The ICB and LPC are monitoring the situation closely, but things are changing rapidly. Locally the main thing we can do is for healthcare providers to keep communication channels open so we can all work together to help patients.’