Have your say on Prescription Ordering Direct service proposals

2nd October 2023

This survey is now closed. Please check back for further updates in the coming weeks. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to complete the survey and provide feedback.

NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB) is keen to hear from people who use the Prescription Ordering Direct service, their families and carers as it considers the future of this service.  

All ICBs across England received a letter from NHS England confirming that these organisations need to reduce their running costs by 30% from 1 April 2024.

As a result, the ICB is developing a new operating model, in which it would no longer be a direct provider of services. The ICB ran a consultation with staff between 20 July and 8 September 2023 outlining a proposed smaller staffing model for how this would work.

Under the proposals that have been put forward the ICB would no longer run the Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service, which works with and supports patients from 18 of the 105 GP practices in Norfolk and Waveney. The service is mainly used by GP practices in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area and a small number in West Norfolk.

At this stage this is only a proposal and no final decision has been made.

Dr Frankie Swords, Executive Medical Director at NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB said: “Staff consultation is now complete and our staff have fed back what they think of these proposals. Quite rightly, some patients and members of the public have also shared their views directly with the ICB.

“We want to ensure we get this important decision right, so we are asking for views from those who use the POD service.

“This is not a consultation, but an opportunity to hear from people who use this service, their families and carers, what they think of these proposals, how they might be impacted if the POD service does end and how we can best support them in the future.

“There are a number of ways in which people can feed back on these proposals and we would encourage them to do so. Please do tell us what you think of these proposals, because your views are incredibly important to us.”

This is an anonymous survey. The information provided to the ICB will be shared with Healthwatch Suffolk for the purposes of producing a report. Please don’t include any information that might identify you personally.

Visit the ICB’s dedicated webpage here: www.improvinglivesnw.org.uk/pod-feedback

Paper copies of the survey are available on request by contacting the ICB’s Patient Enquiries team. They can help you to complete the survey over the telephone, and can provide alternative survey formats including an easy read version on request. You can contact them via the different ways below:

Phone: 01603 595857 

Address: NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DH. 

Paper copies of the survey are available at local GP practices whose patients use the POD service, pharmacies and public libraries in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney and King’s Lynn areas. The surveys will also appear in a number of local weekly newspapers on Friday 6 October. They can be completed by hand and returned via a dedicated Freepost address.

Andy Yacoub, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said: “The way support is delivered across our counties is changing constantly. Our local NHS and care services are under continuing financial and logistical pressure, forcing hard considerations across the sector.

“This is a real opportunity to understand how a service benefits users – while also exploring the challenges for those who may struggle to access what they need without it. And listening to people’s own experiences and using these thoughts to shape future commissioning has never been more important.

“We welcome NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB’s efforts to engage with these voices and ensure people’s feedback is not an afterthought, but a necessary part of the process. Every single piece of feedback truly matters, and will help highlight the importance of having a health system that represents the needs of local people.”

The survey period opens today, 2 October 2023 and will be open until 22 October 2023, so if you would like to feedback about these proposals please do so by this date.  

A report will then be produced, with the help of Healthwatch Suffolk and this will be reported back to NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB. This report will be published in full and used to support the decision making process.

Whatever happens after next April, people will still be able to get help with their prescriptions in other ways. If the original proposals are accepted and the POD service ends next year, then the POD team will work with GP practices, patients and carers who currently use this service between now and then, to support people to move to a new way of ordering their repeat prescriptions in good time. Repeat prescriptions can be ordered in other ways, both via the NHS App and via GP surgeries directly.