Essential facts, stats and quotes relating to the emergency supply of medicines

Published on: 7th January 2016 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

This page contains facts, stats and quotes that LPC members may find useful when writing business cases or developing resources to support the commissioning of an emergency supply of medicines (at NHS expense) service.

This page is ‘work in progress’ and will continue to be updated with new facts, stats and quotes.

Facts, stats and quotes on other topics can be accessed on the Essential facts, stats and quotes page.

Summative service and stakeholder evaluation of an NHS-funded community Pharmacy Emergency Repeat Medication Supply Service (PERMSS) (November 2015)

  • Of the 2,485 patients who took part in the NHS-funded community Pharmacy Emergency Repeat Medication Supply Service (PERMSS), 50% of the respondents suggested that they would have missed their dose(s) until their GP was available to obtain a prescription. A further 46% would have accessed another out of hours (OOH) service. 
  • During the evaluation period, if alternative OOH services had been accessed in place of PERMSS, this could have been associated with an estimated cost of £41,025; 37 times the cost for supplies made via PERMSS. 
  • Community pharmacists provide an important and under-recognised service for patients to ensure sustained treatment supporting medication adherence and decrease the overall burden on the wider NHS. 
  • Supplies were made during OOH periods and the volume of activity from 1st to 7th April indicated that a holiday, including a bank holiday, increased the numbers in requests, as has been previously recorded. 
  • This study suggests that a National Health Service (NHS)-funded emergency repeat medication supply service from community pharmacies reduces the workload on other NHS out-of-hours emergency care providers and is well received by both self-presenting patients and participating community pharmacists. 
  • This study suggests that provision of this out-of-hours service from community pharmacies was less costly when compared with the alternative emergency care providers which patients may have accessed to obtain an emergency supply of their medication if this service had been unavailable.

NHS England, Urgent Repeat Medication Requests: Guide for NHS 111 Services (March 2015)

  • Up to 30% of all calls to NHS 111 services on a Saturday are for urgent requests for repeat medication. This is an increase of 13% over 12 months in some areas.
  • In Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 3,040 requests were handled during April 2014 which resulted in 2,199 being referred directly to GP out of hours services for a 2 hour appointment to arrange a prescription. Only 60 patients were referred to their own in-hours GP with 781 patients referred to other services. Not only does this block GPOOHs appointments for symptomatic patients who have a greater clinical need, but it leads to a disruption in the usual repeat prescribing and dispensing cycle with the potential for medicines waste. In addition, many patients have to visit two locations – GPOOHs base, followed by a community pharmacy to arrange a supply.

NHS England, Community Pharmacy – helping provide better quality and resilient urgent care (November 2014)

  • Up to 15% of calls to NHS 111 are for emergency repeat medication at busy times at the weekends and 3-4% of bank holiday out-of-hours appointments with a doctor are taken up by requests for a prescription for repeat medicines.
  • In Cornwall from April to August 2014 patients received 5,992 medicines using an emergency supply service commissioned from pharmacy preventing other services from becoming overwhelmed during Cornwall’s summer surge in demand.

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