A DECISION to ban people from ordering repeat prescription drugs at York pharmacies has sparked fears that some patients may struggle with technology or "fall through the gaps".

Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has decided to stop the ordering of repeat prescriptions at pharmacies from September 1.

Patients will instead have to make requests by either using the NHS App, ordering online or dropping repeat slips for prescriptions into their surgery.

York CCG has said that the decision follows reports that patients often admit they have built up a large stock of unused prescribed medicines at home.

However, Healthwatch York, which represents people in the city over their health and social care issues, said it was concerned some people may miss out on prescriptions.

A spokesman said: “Healthwatch York are sympathetic to the need to get a grip of local prescribing budgets, and make sure people have only the medicines they need.

“But we are concerned about the many people who are unable to use technology to order their repeat prescription or are unable to get to their practice to order it in person.

“Healthwatch York would also like to know what publicity is being done to inform the public of these changes, and what mechanisms are in place to identify those people most affected.

“And we want to know what will be done to make sure they don’t fall through the gaps of this new policy.

“We urge anyone affected to get in touch and share their concerns with us.”

A spokesman for York CCG said: “Patients regularly report that they have built up a large stock of unused prescribed medicines in their homes and this is why local health and medicine commissioners have adopted best practice from CCGs across the country to help patients to manage their medicines safely.

“Ordering prescriptions online or by handing the prescription tick list to the GP practice or via the NHS App will ensure that patients continue to safely receive the medicines they need and reduce the number of repeat medicines that are not needed.

“Additional support from GP practice and pharmacy staff will be provided to any patient who finds it difficult to order medicines in these ways.

“The CCG recognises there are patients who will need additional support to order their repeat medicines and this is why the CCG will be engaging local people with physical, mental and mobility issues.

“There are also special exceptions for some patients.”