Over a billion NHS prescription items are issued in England each year a cost of over £9 billion.

Many of these prescriptions are for medications to manage long-term health conditions (e.g. diabetes, heart disease). Currently they are issued through the ‘repeat prescribing’ system. This allows patients to request further supplies without a doctor’s appointment.

However, a new study has suggested that prescriptions longer than 28 days could be better for patients.

Leading researcher Dr. King said:

Given our study results, CCGs and local NHS may wish to reconsider current recommendations for 28-day prescription lengths for patients with stable chronic conditions.

The study found that patients with 120-day prescriptions were more likely to take their medicine consistently.

Longer prescriptions would also reduce costs in GP admin workload and pharmacy dispensing. It would also reduce costs to the patient.

Dt Ruprt Payne, another of the study’s authors said:

This has been a contentious issue for many years. Our research shows that the current recommendations to issue shorter prescriptions have been based on a lack of sound scientific evidence.

There is the potential for longer prescriptions to lead to important benefits, by improving patients’ adherence and thus the effectiveness of the drugs, lessening workload for health care professionals, and reducing inconvenience and costs to patients.


Would you benefit from longer prescriptions? What do you think of these results?


2 comments on "Should GPs give longer prescriptions?"

  • Commenter said on 15th May 2019

    I already receive 56 day prescriptions but even longer would be really useful. My medications for a long term condition (Rheumatoid Arthritis) have changed very little in the past 15 years. I try to reduce medications occasionally to see what happens and this just confirms that I still need them.
    I think longer prescriptions for patients who are compliant and of full mental capacity, or have close supervision of their medications, would be efficient and convenient.

  • Commenter said on 20th May 2019

    Makes a lot of sense for patients and GP staff.

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