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Case study: Reducing calls to order repeat medications

Southlands Medical Group in Sunderland removed their paper-based prescription repeat ordering process when the COVID-19 pandemic began to reduce the risk of infection.

Patients who didn't have access to order their prescription online were asked to phone the practice with their requests.  The prescription line usually opened between 2-4pm each day but overspilled to office hours due to demand.

Patients wait times and abandoned calls were increasing so when the Digital Solution Team from Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group offered a range of digital solutions, the practice reached out.

In a collaboration with the telephony supplier, the Digital Solution Team and the practice options were discussed how the telephony system could help direct patients to other platforms during high demand.

Now when patients are queueing on the prescription line the telephony system sends a link to download the NHS App to anyone with a mobile telephone on their record, offering patients an alternative method.

Six months later:

  • prescription line back to 2-4pm
  • 56% reduction in prescription line calls
  • 313% increase in prescription requests via NHS App

"We have always worked hard to push the digital platforms to our patients and this method has been very successful, we are now joint top in Sunderland practices for NHS App downloads.  This in turn has converted a high proportion of phone calls for repeat prescriptions to online requests which is much more manageable.  We're also now looking to doing the same for appointment requests.  The team have been very supportive to help us carry out this work."

Tracy Devonport, Practice Manager

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