Picture the Scene: A Missing Patient’s Signature

By Dispex

Picture the Scene: A dispenser diligently reviews the day’s prescriptions, and among them, a
script lies unsigned, with the exemption box TICKED. There’s a
flicker of recognition – it’s a
familiar name. This patient, they recall does falls under exemption criteria, however,
cautious approach requires verification. Delving into
the patient’s records, the dispenser
validates the patient’s exemption status. Armed with certainty, the Dispenser make a decision,
backed by protocol, to sign the prescription on the patient’s behalf.

In this case, the prescription in question included four items, each with a prescription fee of
£9.65. By addressing the unsigned script, the dispenser has saved the dispensary £38.60. While
this amount may appear inconsequential, when multiplied over the average number of unsigned
prescriptions you may encounter in
a month, it could be costing the practice hundreds of pounds!

We are all human and in the bustling environment of a dispensary, amidst the numerous tasks
undertaken, this confirmation step can often be overlooked. Although it’s ideal to inspect EACH
prescription for a signature while the patient or their representative is present. If you come across
an unsigned exempt script, in line with NHS England and
The Drug Tariff, you are permitted to act
as a patient’s representative and sign on behalf of the patient- as long as exemption status checks
are carried out.

We highly advise that you and the entire dispensary team review your current Standard Operating
Procedures concerning this process. This is especially crucial if there’s a new addition to your team.
Remember, Dispex members have access to the online SOPs library.

DPX P12-The Prescription Reverse

Emphasis is placed on the importance of meeting the legal requirements associated with completing
the FP10 reverse when the dispensed prescription is handed out to the patient or their representative
at the dispensary hatch.

DPX P10-Handing Out a Prescription

The purpose of this SOP is to ensure that patients receive the dispensed medicines/items intended
for them and with relevant information to enable them to use the items effectively and as intended
by the Prescriber.
The procedure covers the handing out of all dispensed medicines to patients and
their representatives;

  • If patient/representative is COLLECTING a dispensed prescription
  • If patient/representative has been WAITING for the prescription
  • If patient has NOT previously used the medicine/item(s)
  • If the patient has had the medicine/ item(s) in the past:

Known Risks

  • New staff.
  • Patients with commonly occurring surnames.
  • Patients with the same name, living at the same address.
  • Patients collecting more than one prescription.
  • Third-party (eg. nurse, carer) or patient representative collection.
  • Patients with sensory disabilities.
  • Patients with language or literacy problems.
  • Patients who are too busy for counselling.
  • Items stored in other locations (eg. fridge, CD cabinet, bulky items)
  • Prescriptions that have been dispensed into more than one bag.
  • Prescriptions for different patients, that need to be collected together.

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