Two new regulations have been signed this morning to allow pharmacies to access prescriptions electronically and to introduce other measures to relieve pressure on GPs and pharmacists during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister for Health Simon Harris has signed the two statutory instruments to change the way prescriptions are issued and repeated. The legislation aims to reduce the need for people to attend their GP surgery during the outbreak.
The regulations will lengthen the time of a valid prescription from 6 months to 9 months. They will also give discretion to pharmacists to give repeat prescriptions without necessarily requiring a new prescription.
To help pharmacists, GPs & patients, I have signed new regulations to allow prescriptions be submitted electronically, to lengthen time of a valid prescription & to give some discretion on repeat prescriptions. All aimed at supporting our health service & citizens during #Covid19 pic.twitter.com/2vjsJ3uwTj
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) April 3, 2020
Under the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, a prescription can now be transferred electronically to a pharmacy via the HSE’s Healthmail system.
Speaking today after signing the new legislation, Minister Harris said: “We are asking people to stay home. We know many people will still require access to important medicines and that is why we are introducing these measures. However, I also want to remind patients and the general public not to seek supplies of medicines over and above their normal requirements. Doing so will hamper the supply of medicines for others.
“The changes we will make today will relieve the pressure on GPs and pharmacists. Crucially, it will reduce the need for people to visit their GP or pharmacy during this pandemic.
“I want to thank our healthcare staff, my department and the HSE for their work on this matter. This is a significant step and will help us in our efforts to slow the spread of this virus.”