Winter traditionally brings additional demand for health services. Specifically, we see a spike in people who contact NHS 111 over the bank holidays, and many of those calls are from people who have run out of medication.
Statistics from last winter (December 2022 – February 2023) reveal that we received over 20,000 calls to the NHS 111 service for repeat prescriptions, making it the second-highest reason for calling during that period.
Paul Johnston, Senior Service Delivery Manager for NHS 111 service , emphasises the importance of planning ahead for medication needs, stating, “Winter is always a busy time for our NHS 111 service, especially during the festive period between Christmas and New Year. This generally leads to longer wait times for people who have called the service.
“Running out of medication can have serious consequences, and we want to remind the public to order their repeat prescriptions in advance to avoid unnecessary stress and potential health risks.”
To streamline the process, we encourage the use of the NHS app for convenient online prescription orders. Planning ahead can alleviate the strain on healthcare services and ensure that individuals have the medications they need, even during the busy winter months.
Repeat prescriptions are also available to order via the patient’s GP surgery or on the NHS website. If a patient does run out of medication, NHS 111 can request a limited emergency supply, but it’s always best to plan ahead.
Paul adds. “We would always recommend using the NHS 111 online service over phoning. You answer the same questions, and it will tell you what to do next. It’s available on the NHS app and website at 111.nhs.uk. Depending on what you need, you might be advised to call 999, book a call back from a nurse or be directed to the appropriate medical support.”
NHS 111 online is for people aged five and over. Patients should call NHS 111 if they need help for a child under five.
More information on ordering prescriptions online https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/how-to-order-a-repeat-prescription/