We would firstly like to thank you, as always, for your continued and unwavering support of our surgeries. What interesting times we are in. We are so very thankful for your patience whilst we navigated our way through the last year- converting from face-to-face to telephone consultations and collecting medications through windows to mention just a few!!
As always, the safety of our patients and staff is paramount and as we start to plan our roadmap out of the pandemic and start to resume some of our routine monitoring services we have had to risk assess all areas of patient care and unsurprisingly the highest risk to patients and staff is patient footfall. At Codford in particular, footfall is mainly centred around the collection of medications and scripts. When assessing and discussing ways to mitigate this risk two options were considered, a delivery service or a 24 hours collection point (like amazon collection points!). Both options were thoroughly researched and in the end the we opted for the pragmatic approach, the dispensing machine. The machine carries less risk, but goes a long way to helping us to reduce footfall in the building, with the added benefit of allowing medication to be collected outside of dispensary hours.
We hope the following information answers your questions but if there’s something we’ve forgotten, please contact our Practice Manager- Jessica Holland- email@example.com.
What is a dispensing machine?
Pharmaself24 is an automated medicine collection machine system that lets patients pick up medicine 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
This sounds interesting but how does it work?
Once your medication has been dispensed it will be placed inside the automatic dispenser. At the same time, you will be sent a text message with a unique 6-digit pin number for your items. Simply tap this into the machine and your medication will be delivered to you straight away.
What about acute prescriptions?
It’s not only repeat prescriptions that can be collected this way, acute items can be too.
What are the other benefits?
Time and convenience and the many ways this will impact on your life. There’s also the advantage of added privacy as you will no longer need to check your medication at reception. You will be able to maintain self-distancing and reduce the risk of spreading or catching germs.
I pay for my medication and my partner is exempt, what happens here?
You can pay for your medication by card whilst using the machine. If you are exempt or have a prepayment card, the technology will recognise this too. It’s your responsibility to keep your prepayment and any exemptions up to date. Failure to do so could result in a fine.
Will I be able to collect controlled drugs in this way?
Unfortunately this is not allowed because controlled drugs can only be made available upon completion of the necessary paperwork.
Will I be able to collect fridge items in this way?
Certain fridge items may be stored in the Pharmaself24 machine with prior arrangement and commitment to prompt collection. Fridge items need to be stored in temperature-controlled conditions.
What about larger items such as stoma and incontinence products?
They won’t fit into the machine.
What happens if I’m collecting medication on behalf of someone else?
Providing the individual concerned has authorised you to do so, all they need to do is give you the pin number to access their medication. A new pin number is issued for each order, so you don’t have to worry about remembering it or it getting lost.
My family member looks forward to popping into the practice to collect their medication and is not good with pin numbers?
Don’t worry. Our ability to deliver quality patient service matters to us a great deal which is why if some patients wish to continue collecting their medication in the traditional way, they are very welcome to do so, the choice is theirs.
How long will the automatic dispenser store my medication for?
3 to 6 days depending on demand.
How reliable and secure are these machines?
Very reliable. Every time an order is completed each package will be allocated a bar code that corresponds to the 6 digit pin you will be sent. This technology ensures you cannot be given the wrong medication by mistake. The technology deployed is similar to that used by cash dispensers to ensure machines are secure and tamper proof at all times.
What if I don’t use a mobile phone or computer?
Don’t worry you will still be able to order and collect your medicines in the usual way
I like to collect my medication from a local drop off point, can I still do this?
Yes you can, although you might like to consider the additional flexibility that using the automatic dispenser will bring.
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to use a service like Pharmacy2u?
There will always be choice and it’s up to you to decide what works best for you. It’s all about options and what we want to do is expand the range of options.
Is this a new idea?
Whilst in certain respects we’re stepping into the future, we’re also helping to maintain those things that matter to us a community, i.e. keeping things local for local people to use. However, by using this machine you could, if you wish, collect your medication on bank holidays – now there’s a thought!
We hope certainly hope so!
In the next week or so, you will see a planning application for the machine. This will give you information on what the machine will look like externally and how it will look!
The awkward bit
As mentioned early, we always like to communicate and share our thoughts you, our valued patients, however, time was of the essence! Should planning be successful, the machine will be fitted within in less than a month! We plan to have a live ‘Q and A’ session as well as having a dedicated team member to help you through every step of the way!
The really awkward and cheeky bit
As you can imagine, this is a major investment, £40,000 to be exact, and it will without a doubt help with the provision of day to day healthcare now and into future. This machine will bring considerable benefits to the community as a whole. All things going well, with the help of the community we would like to set up help with fundraising to support us in repaying our loan. If you think you can help, please get in contact with our Practice Manager- Jessica Holland- firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of the Partners