A pilot is currently underway to try and free up capacity for GPs out of hours and improve services for patients.
Working with the area team, NEAS began a pilot on 15 December, sending requests for repeat prescriptions directly to pharmacies rather than out of hours GPs.
There are 711 pharmacies across the North East, of which 423 have extended opening. So far 350 community pharmacies have signed up to this service.
Using a website called PharmOutcomes, which is the database used by all pharmacies across the region, a request will be sent from our Contact Centre through to a pharmacy.
The pharmacy can either accept the referral, completing it when the patient attends, or reject it if they cannot meet the requirements. In these cases, we would offer an alternative pharmacy to the patient.
NEAS takes between 500 and 700 repeat prescriptions a month through the NHS 111 service. So far we have made 472 referrals using PharmOutcomes.
Tom Howard, Contact Centre manager, said: “Using PharmOutcomes not only frees up the out of hours service for those who need it most, but also leads to the patients getting a quicker response as the prescriptions will not need to be signed off by the GPs.”