Cockermouth Public Have Their Say about Prescription Changes


In response to public feedback regarding the recent changes made to the way prescription orders were managed in Cockermouth, Healthwatch Cumbria (HWC) arranged a drop in session where members of the public could share their views and hear more from the Castlegate and Derwent surgery representatives about the changes.

The excellent turn out on a cold, wet Monday night from local residents, surgery representatives and affected pharmacists demonstrated how deeply all those present felt about the issue. Lively group discussions took place before a panel of surgery staff, comprising 5 doctors and the practice manager, who answered questions raised by those in attendance.

Comments were recorded by Healthwatch representatives and, together with the feedback cards that were completed by attendees, will form the basis of a report to reflect the views expressed at the drop in.

The key issues raised by people at the event included;

  • The new system was not people centred, and particularly affected the most vulnerable
  • The poor communication from the surgery about the rationale for change to a process that people thought worked very well
  • Preference to go to the pharmacies in the town and not have to go up to the surgery
  • The challenges many people have about accessing the surgery
  • Frustrations with accessing the prescription phone line
  • Some reluctance to use the IT process
  • Concerns about the relationship between the surgery and the pharmacy on the hospital site
  • There has been a breakdown or trust and relationships

The surgery responded by saying;

  • They apologise for not communicating more effectively
  • The new process should help prescription review and reduce wastage
  • They acknowledge that capacity of the phone prescription line is causing frustration
  • The revised system was being rolled out across Cumbria
  • They would review and add to their list of vulnerable people to ensure that they get additional assistance as required
  • They would review the process after it had been running for some time

HWC agreed to;

  • Find out more from the Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England about the rationale/guidance for the revised process being rolled out
  • Produce a report with key themes from the evening and present it to the surgery
  • Submit the report to the surgery who will be required to respond in 20 working days
  • Plan to provide some clarity about some of the terms used – “managed repeats” etc.

Healthwatch Cumbria would like to thank all those who attended this drop in, and hope that it marks the beginning of dialogue between all interested parties befitting of the experience, knowledge and passion that was evident at the event.