Lancashire MP warns of 'prescription chaos' as pensioners are told to use the Internet
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has raised concerns about the repeat prescription ordering system - claiming some elderly people are being prevented from accessing the healthcare they need.
Mrs Cooper said she has been contacted on several occasions by people unable to contact the Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) services for their repeat prescriptions.
One man, aged 97, was told he needed to use an online ordering service.
The MP said: “It is worrying that within the last month several people have had to contact me to ask for help after they have been completely unable to get in contact with the POD to order their repeat prescription.
“These are prescribed and essential medications that patients are unable to order because their calls are never answered!
"This simply cannot be allowed to happen. I understand that the service has been struggling with staff shortages that are now being addressed but when people are going without their prescribed medication, this excuse is not good enough and needs to improve.
“A 97 year old man contacted me, worried that a number of his medications were due to run out but he had not been able to reorder them. When I alerted the GP Federation, instead of contacting him immediately to resolve the problem he was told to go online to order them.
“There are still plenty of people that either don’t have access to the internet or would struggle to use it in this way. I am in favour of technological improvements but only when it doesn’t prevent vulnerable or elderly people from accessing the healthcare they need."
Mrs Cooper has previously contacted NHS England and the Health Secretary to ask for interventions to be made after the Prescription Ordering Direct services was found to be failing patients. Control of the service was then handed to the West Lancashire GP Federation, from the local Clinical Commissioning Group.
She said while this while this initially seemed to have improved the service, she felt she again needed to publicly raise concerns about the standard of the service now provided.
The West Lancashire GP Federation as been contacted for a comment.