Why it matters: There is no current consensus on durations of prescriptions across the NHS and prescribers are advised that they should write a prescription for a duration that is clinically appropriate. The British Medical Association reports growing requests to prescribe seven day quantities of medicines to fund supply of medicine compliance aids (MCAs), adding to GP workload. The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has issued guidance stating that while some may think of MCAs as a panacea, there is limited evidence base to support their use, and safety incidents have been reported to the National Reporting and Learning System.
We propose this measure of seven day prescriptions for long-term conditions as a surrogate measure for MCAs. Caveats include; a seven day prescription may be clinically relevant even for long-term conditions in certain circumstances, some pharmacies will supply a MCA without a seven day prescription after making an individual assessment, and some local areas may fund provision of MCAs via a separate payment. Locally you may wish to review prescriptions of seven day duration for clinical appropriateness. Additionally the NHS Long Term Plan has set out targets for the NHS to reduce the negative impact it has on the environment. Many MCAs will be single use plastics or cardboards so if they are being supplied inappropriately there will be an opportunity to reduce waste in this area.
The medicines we have used for the measure are generally used once daily for long term conditions: atorvastatin, simvastatin, levothyroxine, amlodipine and ramipril.
Please note that this is an experimental measure. We would be grateful for any feedback at [email protected].You can read more detail on the measure definition notebook and on our blog.
Description: Total quantity where a prescription is for seven tablets or capsules of common LTC medicines as a proportion of all tablets or capsules for common LTC medicines
CCGs are ordered by mean percentile over the past six months. Each chart shows the results for the individual CCG, plus deciles across all CCGs in the NHS in England.