Remember to order your repeat prescriptions before the bank holiday

The North West’s chief pharmacist is reminding people not to leave it too late to order repeat prescriptions ahead of the August bank holiday next week. 

Last Bank Holiday – the NHS 111 phone service saw more than a 400 per cent increase in people contacting it about repeat prescriptions – rising from 801 calls in the three days before the Jubilee Bank Holiday to 4,287 in the first three days of the Jubilee weekend.

Karen O’Brien MBE heads up the pharmacy service across the region and has flagged up that any repeat prescriptions will need to be ordered before Monday 22 August at the latest.

Many GP practices and pharmacies will have limited opening hours over the bank holiday weekend, making it more challenging for patients to access medicines at short notice.

Karen said: “By re-stocking medicine cabinets, knowing when your GP practice is open and planning ahead for repeat prescriptions, people can ensure they make the most of the bank holiday weekend. Running out of your usual medication can have serious consequences, especially if you use them to control heart and breathing problems or a health condition such as diabetes and is the last thing you want to do while your friends and family are celebrating.”

You will need to check with your GP practice how much notice they need to issue a prescription. Most GP practices need a minimum of 48 hours’ notice to issue a repeat prescription. Any repeat medicines needed over the bank holiday should be ordered before Monday 22 August, at the latest, to make sure there is enough time for them to be processed and dispensed. Community pharmacies also generally need between 24 and 48 hours from when they receive a repeat prescription to prepare medicines.

If people feel unwell over the bank holiday weekend, they can check their symptoms and get access to advice using online. NHS 111 is a free service which runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Find a pharmacy near you that is open on the bank holiday.