Developing the Role of a Prescription Clerk

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM [WET]

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Tuesday, 23 November 2021 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM [WET]


Receptionists are often the first point of contact in general practice for patients when it comes to ordering their repeat medications or when they have a query concerning them. More and more, practices are developing members of the administrative team to take on this role as a complete or large proportion of their daily tasks and identifying them as ‘Prescription Clerks’.  Collaboration between clinical and administrative staff is crucial to maintaining the quality and safety of prescribing.


The Developing the Role of a Prescription Clerk module is aimed at practice managers, receptionists and administrative staff with a background knowledge and experience of Medicines Management within General Practice. The module aims to further expand and develop the skills of those members of non-clinical staff who wish to take a lead in this area within the practice and undertake of the role of a ‘prescription clerk’. The module focusses on the areas of compliance with medicines and medicines waste and offers the learner the practical opportunity to practice application of the knowledge that they have developed in these areas.


After undertaking the training, learners will have an increased awareness of the process of repeat prescribing, the monitoring requirements for some common medicines and will be able to discuss the problems encountered when prescribing antibiotics. The course will also provide them with the opportunity to gain practical skills in identifying therapeutic duplication, over and under use of medicines and problems encountered with discharge prescriptions.  Furthermore, learners will be given time to discuss some of the common problems that they regularly experience, to develop their customer care and audit skills, to network with their peers and to develop action plans that can be implemented in their workplaces to develop the role of a ‘Prescription Clerk’. 

Developing the role of a ‘Prescription Clerk’ within the practice, with dedicated time to fulfil the responsibilities of this role can present a challenging cultural shift for some teams but we will explore the need to change and the benefits these changes can have.


Successful and safe Medicines Management is reliant on the following principles:

1.       Robust protocols agreed by both clinical and non-clinical staff, which clearly outline the responsibilities and when escalation to a clinical member of the team is required
2.       A commitment from the whole team to support staff in delivering the role of ‘Prescription Clerk’ and dedicated time to fulfil this role
3.       Continuing audit of activity and outcomes including complaints and significant or serious incidents.


Training Recommendations: all staff who wish to undertake the Developing the Role of a Prescription Clerk module and develop their skills as a ‘Prescription Clerk’:

v  Should be experienced GP Practice and or Pharmacy staff and understand the course outcomes
v  Will have to demonstrate how they have applied the skills and knowledge gained back in their workplaces and their work will be audited and monitored on an ongoing basis back in the practice
v  May wish to undertake the Introduction to Medicines Management and Conflict Resolution Skills modules to secure their background knowledge in these areas, prior to undertaking this module


Practice requirements: all practices who wish to send staff to attend the Developing the Role of a Prescription Clerk module and develop the role of ‘Prescription Clerk’ should:

v  Commit to allowing the staff member time to attend the training course
v  Support the staff member in developing the role of ‘Prescription Clerk’ in the practice
v  Ensure that robust protocols are developed and agreed by both clinical and non-clinical members of the team, which clearly identifies the responsibilities of each and when it is necessary for the non-clinical member staff member to escalate up to the clinical staff member
v  Agree that overall responsibility for prescribing remains with the medical or non-medical prescriber who should ultimately check and sign the prescription
v  Understand that implementation must be continually monitored, audited and significant or critical events reviewed, reflected upon and actioned appropriately



Welcome & Introductions 

Learning objectives

·         Overview of the Learning outcomes
·         Developing the role of a Prescription Clerk
·         The benefits to General Practice


Medicines and prescribing – brief overview

·         Legal classification of medicines

·         Legal requirements of a prescription

·         Common abbreviations

·         Acute, repeat, automatics

·         Drug allergies and intolerances

·         Yellow card reporting


Medicines Compliance

·         7-day prescriptions
·         Exercise - Identifying under and over-use
·         Compliance aids
·         Disability Discrimination Act


Medicines that require extra care – what to look out for…

·         Anticoagulants – VKA and DOACs
·         Methotrexate
·         Monitoring parameters for common drugs


Antibiotic prescribing

·         Problems with antibiotic resistance
·         Conditions which antibiotics shouldn’t routinely be used for
·         Local formularies


Hospital discharges and outpatient letters  

·         TTOs
·         Identifying changes
·         Hospital only (Red drugs)


eRD – Electronic Repeat Dispensing

·         The benefits
·         Suitable patients
·         How to manage eRD
·         How to set these up


Cost effectiveness and reducing medicines waste

·         How big is the problem of medicines waste?
·         The process of ordering repeat prescriptions
·         ‘When required’ items
·         Food supplements and appropriate quantities
·         Automatics
·         Generic versus branded - exercise
·         Items of limited value
·         Identifying waste in the system and how to reduce medicines waste - exercise
·         Abuse – prescription fraud, medicines liable to abuse
·         Specials/Unlicensed


MHRA drug alerts


The audit cycle – Plan / Do / Check / Act 



Summary & Close 


Frankie Maclean