We will no longer prescribe sedating drugs for Fear of Flying
Fear of Flying Policy
Due to a medical safety alert from Aviation trained doctors; we have taken the decision to no longer prescribe sedating drugs such as Diazepam, which is sometimes used to treat fear of flying, and medications such as Zopiclone, which is used as a sleeping tablet. There are several very good reasons why prescribing these drugs is not recommended:
1 – Diazepam and Zopiclone are both sedative, which means it makes you more relaxed and sleepier. If there is an emergency during the flight, it may impair your ability to concentrate, follow instructions and react to the situation. This could have serious safety consequences not just to yourself, but to those around you.
2 – Sedative drugs can make you fall into an unnatural non-REM sleep. This means you won’t move around as much as you would do in natural sleep. This can cause you to be at increased risk of developing a blood clot in the leg (DVT) or even the lung. Blood clots are very dangerous and can even prove fatal. This risk is even greater if your flight is greater than 4 hours.
3 – Whilst most people find Diazepam sedating, a small number have paradoxical agitation and increased aggression. It can also cause disinhibition, leading you to behave in a way that you would not normally. This could impact on your safety as well as that of other passengers. A similar effect can be seen with alcohol, which has led to passengers being removed from their flights. It could also get you into trouble with the law.
4 – The British National Formulary (BNF), the reference guide for prescription of medications by doctors in the UK, states that the use of benzodiazepines is not allowed in treating phobia. Your doctor would be taking a significant legal risk by prescribing against these guidelines. They are only licensed short term for a crisis in generalised anxiety. If this is the case, you should be getting proper care and support for your mental health, and not going on a flight.
5 – Diazepam and similar drugs are illegal in several countries. They may be confiscated, or you may find yourself in trouble with the police
Given the above, we will no longer be prescribing Diazepam for flight anxiety or Zopiclone for flight insomnia. We appreciate that fear of flying is very real and very frightening. A much better approach is to tackle this properly with a Fear of Flying course run by the airlines. We have provided a number of these below
Patients on long-term medication can order repeat prescriptions in a number of ways:
- Online - follow the link at the top of this page. First-time users will need to complete a simple registration.
- By hand - drop your computer printed repeat form into reception with the required items clearly marked.
- By post - send it to us remembering to include a stamped addressed envelope, if you want us to post it back to you.
- We are unable to accept requests for medication over the telephone - This is a safety measure implemented by the GP Partners.
Please be advised that the Riverside Practice does not call patients when their prescription is ready.
Most pharmacies provide a text messaging service, letting patients know when their prescription is ready for collection, if you wish to receive this service you will need to register this with your nominated pharmacy.
Electronic Prescribing Service
EPS enables the doctor to send your prescriptions electronically to a pharmacy of your choice. This makes the prescribing and dispensing process more efficient and convenient for you, the practice and the pharmacist as nobody has to handle paper prescriptions.
EPS is reliable, secure and confidential. Your electronic prescription will only be seen by the same people in the surgery, the pharmacy and the NHS prescription payment and fraud agencies that see your paper prescription now.
Using EPS means you don’t have to come to the surgery to pick up a paper prescription. Instead we will send it electronically to the pharmacy you choose saving you time. You can choose to get your medications from a pharmacy close to where you live or work or go shopping and you may not have to wait as long for your repeat prescription to be ready.
EPS may not be suitable for you if you don’t get prescriptions very often or if you pick up your medicines from different places.
How can you use EPS?
Any of our reception and prescribing staff can set you up for EPS all you need to do is nominate a pharmacy to which we will send your prescription electronically. If you change your mind about using EPS or wish your prescriptions to go to a different pharmacy please let us know before your next prescription is due so we can ensure it doesn’t go to the wrong place.
PRESCRIPTION WALK IN CLINIC - SUSPENDED
Due to safety measures in line with advise from Public Health England and the spread of the Coronavirus :
The WALK IN prescribing clinic has been suspended until further notice.
Please telephone the practice between 11am & 12pm and choose
“OPTION 2” to speak with a prescribing clerk.
Please do not approach the reception desk
Prescription Department Availability
|PRESCRIPTION PHONE LINES - (Option 2)||AM||PM|
|Phone lines are open between the hours of:||09.30 - 13.00||14.00 - 15.00|
|PRESCRIPTION QUERIES OFFICE OPENING HOURS:|
|The opportunity to discuss your prescription queries directly with a member of our Prescribing Team||SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE|
|At all other times please allow the Prescribing Clerks the time needed to safely and efficiently work through the large volume of medication requests and queries from patients, hospitals and other Health Care Providers.|
Requests for Urgent Prescriptions
All urgent requests for medication will need to be requested by completing a "Requesting an Urgent Prescription" form available at the surgery.
Please ensure this form is fully completed.
Once completed you will need to give the form to a member of the reception team.
Request received BY 1PM The prescription will be ready for collection at the surgery after 5.30pm the following day.
Request received AFTER 1PM The prescription will be ready for collection at the surgery after 5.30pm the day after tomorrow.
You will be issued with up to 7 days’ worth of medication only.
On collection of this urgent script you will need to complete the usual repeat medication request procedure in the usual manner, this will be processed in line with our protocol. The practice protocol for repeat prescriptions is 2 CLEAR WORKING DAYS.
We will honour two urgent prescription requests; additional urgent medication requests will be issued in line with practice policy of allowing two clear working days.
EXCEPTIONS - (we will turn requests for these medication around within 24 hours)
- Anti-coagulation medication
- Epilepsy Medication
- Reducing courses of Steroids
We are unable to process hospital medication changes until the official letter from the hospital has been received, clearly identifying the changes required. This can take up to 14 days.
If the changes or introduction of medication is deemed urgent by the hospital, the hospital must provide the medication through their own pharmacy.
The hospital is required to supply patients with medication following discharge from inpatient or day case care. Medication must be supplied by the hospital for a minimum of seven days.
Issuing of Medication from the Hospital
PATIENT PRESCRIPTION INFORMATION SHEET
2 clear working days
Can be issued up to 10 days in advance. We require 2 clear working days. This then gives the pharmacy over 5 days to dispense your prescription.
New Medication from the hospital
Officially as per CCG Guidelines – 14 days from receipt
If the hospitals deem your new medication urgent, they are obliged to give you a minimum of 7 days. We aim to turn requests around quicker than 14 days but sometimes this is not possible.
Increases in Medication
2 clear working days
In the majority of cases a clinician needs to authorise and so we ask for 2 clear working days. We also require written confirmation of this and there may be a delay depending on the nature of the medication.
New Patient Medication
10/14 working days
Please ensure your previous practice has provided you enough medication whilst your new registration takes place.
Non Availability of Medication
4 working days
We have to contact Medicine Optimising Team and then consult with the clinician.
The following working day after 5.30pm collection from the surgery only.
7 day supply of tablets and capsules will be issued and ready for collection on the next working day for requests received before 1pm. After 1pm you will be required to wait a further day. Requests received on a Friday will be available on the following Monday – unless your medication falls into one of the categories listed in the exceptions below then we will ensure you have your medication before the surgery closes for the weekend.
(we will turn requests for these medication around within 24 hours)
Reducing courses of Steroids
We cannot issue prescriptions from Hospital prescriptions.
You need to get these dispensed at the hospital or be prepared to wait up to 14 days as per CCG guidelines
Medication that is available Over the Counter will need to be purchased by the patient until a prescription can be raised in line with normal practice policy.
When required Medication will be dealt with as a normal Repeat Request.
We aim to work to these timescales, however at busy times there may be a delay, for which we apologise.
If you have a query about your repeat prescription it may be possible for our prescription clerk or your pharmacist to assist you in answering your query.
The pharmacies in March (Boots, Lloyds & Tesco) offer a prescription collection service.
Please ask at your pharmacy for details of the delivery/collection service they may provide.
Contacting our Prescription Clerks
Patients of The Riverside Practice can contact our Prescription Clerks by calling the surgery between the hours of 09:30 to 12:30 Monday to Friday.
Please remember that the Prescription Clerks are unable to accept requests for medication over the phone.
Medicines Management and Wastage
Working with the Medicines Management Team from the CCG we are keen to avoid wasted medications.
We would ask that you do not order medications that you do not need.
In addition if the amounts of your medications need reconciling so you can order all the medicines that you require at the same time, it would be helpful if you could let our prescribing clerk know the number of tablets you require to do this.
Help with NHS costs
In England, around 90% of prescription items are dispensed free.
This includes exemptions from charging for those on low incomes, such as:
- those on specific benefits or through the NHS Low Income Scheme
- those who are age exempt
- those with certain medical conditions
More information is available at NHS Choices
These charges apply in England only. In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales prescriptions are free of charge.
- Prescription (per item): £9.15
- 12-month prepayment certificate (PPC): £105.90
- 3-month PPC: £29.65
If you will have to pay for four or more prescription items in three months or more than 14 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a PPC.
- Telephone advice and order line 0845 850 0030
- General Public - Buy or Renew a PPC On-line
There is further information about prescription exemptions and fees on the NHS website.
Open The Bag
Patients urged to "open the bag" as new campaign launches
People in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being urged to ‘open the bag’ when they get prescriptions to help reduce medicines waste and save money for the NHS.
The call comes from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG as part of a new campaign to tackle wasted medicines which costs an estimated £4.67m in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough each year – funds that could be used for reinvestment in health services elsewhere.
Anyone who gets a prescription can help their local NHS by opening their prescription bag at the pharmacy counter when they receive their medicines, and hand anything they no longer need back to the pharmacist. They should also make sure they only order the medicines they will use, as any medicine returned to a pharmacy must be destroyed, even it if has not been opened.
Sati Ubhi, Chief Pharmacist, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, said: “There are some really easy things which everyone can do to help prevent waste and make the most of scarce NHS resources.
“Our messages are simple – don’t order any medicine you don’t need, open the bag and give anything you don’t require back to the pharmacist or delivery driver, and always tell you’re GP, pharmacist or nurse if you can’t take a medicine.”
Of the £4.67m of medicines wasted each year*, estimates show that in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough:
- £1.7m is being returned to pharmacies because it’s not needed
- £1.4m is kept in the home and is out of date
- £0.78m is disposed of in care homes
Audits show that around half the medication returned to pharmacies has not been opened, which means people are ordering it but don’t even start to use it. Although pharmacies can accept unused medicines back from patients, Department of Health regulations state these cannot be reissued and must be safely disposed of.
Meb Datoo, local pharmacist agrees with the campaign, “The NHS simply cannot afford to waste medicines, and we all have a role to play in this. If you open the bag whilst you’re still in the pharmacy, and find something you don’t need then you can just hand it back to a member of staff, which means it can then be used for another patient. Also if you have any questions or queries about how to get the best from your medicines then just ask to speak to your pharmacist.”
Sati Ubhi added: “People often ask us how they can help reduce costs for the NHS. This is an easy way to do just that, and will make a significant difference. Drugs can only be used by the patient they are prescribed for, and cannot be sent abroad to help in other countries. As a result, any drugs which leave the pharmacy and aren’t used end up being wasted – which is why we’re asking people to take action as soon as they pick up their prescription by opening the bag there and then.” *These estimates are based upon the NHS England national waste report published in June 2015 and applied to our CCG total primary care prescribing spend for 2015/16 to give the breakdown and total waste estimate value in our CCG.