Patients who have regular repeat prescriptions are asked not to request additional supplies of their medication or to ask for it any sooner than it is due.
In line with instructions from the Department of Health and Social Care, Island GPs will only prescribe patients a normal supply of their medication, and will not be able to provide a repeat prescription in advance of the date it is due.
The reminder to patients is part of an ongoing initiative to enable a steady supply of medication, avoiding any shortage in the supply chain and ensuring medicines can be available for all who need them, when they need them - and is based on advice from the UK Government.
Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said:
‘It makes sense to supply patients with the meds they require at the time they’re due, and not to allow people to build up supplies at home, albeit I understand this gives some people peace of mind. We are living in difficult times. The pandemic is affecting many aspects of our daily lives, and we have to accept that things we took for granted in the past are now more difficult.
‘There is no particular problem with the supply of medicines to the Island, but we need to proceed cautiously. This is a time for insisting on best practice - and that means prescribing in an equitable way that safeguards the supply chain. Patients should not ask their GPs to add extra supplies of their medication on a prescription or seek a repeat ‘script in advance, as they will not be able to oblige.’
Patients are further advised that local pharmacies may have to operate reduced opening hours from time to time during the circuit break, as it is proving more difficult than normal to cover staff absences during periods of illness, self-isolation or for other reasons.
As well as being required to dispense prescriptions, a registered pharmacist must be present where a number of over-the-counter medicines are sold, and therefore if the pharmacist is away and a locum is not available, the branch may have to close temporarily or change its opening times.
Patients can check if their pharmacy is open by phoning the branch, and news of any closures will be posted on Isle of Man Government social media channels.
Further information about community pharmacies Island-wide and a list of their contact details is available online at the Community Pharmacies page.