Dossette Boxes- Frequently Asked Questions for Patients
What is a dossette box?
Dossette boxes, also known as ‘trays’, ‘blister packs’ or ‘multi-compartment compliance aids’ are containers which have separate compartments for days of the week and times of the day and can assist people with taking their medicines.
How do I get a dossette box?
Dossette boxes are not suitable for all medicines and are not always available for free.
The Community Pharmacist who dispenses your medicines will need to assess your situation to determine whether you may benefit from a dossette box or other support. The decision is not up to the GP Practice, social care or any other agency.
To make this decision, your Community Pharmacist is expected to undertake an assessment with you. This includes questions about:
- your medicines
- your eye sight
- your ability to open medicines from their container
- your memory regarding ordering and taking your medicines and if this is affected by physical or mental impairment or disability.
These questions will support the Community Pharmacist to determine whether you may be covered under the Equality Act (2010) which legally requires Pharmacies to make reasonable adjustments if appropriate. Reasonable adjustments can include: use of large print labels, provision of non-clicklock caps, medication reminder charts, dossette boxes.
Are dossette boxes free?
Historically dossette boxes were supplied free of charge to anyone requesting one but this became unsustainable and too expensive for Pharmacies.
Now the only requirement for a dossette box to be supplied free of charge is if you qualify under the Equality Act (2010) and if a dossette box is deemed the most appropriate reasonable adjustment by the Community Pharmacist.
To qualify under the Equality Act (2010) for a reasonable adjustment, a person is regarded as having a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out day to day activities. Additionally, the impairment must be either long term (lasted more than 12 months) or is likely to last more than 12 months or for the rest of the person’s life (for example multiple sclerosis). 1
For those who do not qualify under the Equality Act (2010), Community Pharmacies can decide to charge for the supply of a dossette box as a ‘private transaction’ or may not offer this as a private service. This fee varies between participating Pharmacies and is beyond the GP Practice’s control.
My Pharmacy says “We do not do dossette boxes”
As detailed above, Pharmacies are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments for those who qualify under the Equality Act (2010). Pharmacies are therefore responsible for completing an assessment for you if a medicine compliance need has been identified to determine whether you qualify.
Pharmacies should not say they do not do dossette boxes as a blanket rule without any individual assessment. If this is happening, you should address this legal obligation with the Responsible Pharmacist/ Pharmacy Manager at the branch or head office.
My Pharmacy has stopped my dossette box- what do I do?
The Pharmacist should have assessed your situation to determine whether you qualify under the Equality Act (2010) for any reasonable adjustments before stopping your dossette box. If this has not happened, you should request this assessment from your Community Pharmacist.
If you do not qualify under the Equality Act for a free dossette box, your Pharmacist should advise you about alternative ways to manage your medicines or may offer you a dossette box and charge for this as part of a private service.
Do I need to have weekly prescriptions for a dossette box?
You do not need weekly prescriptions for a dossette box, unless your GP has determined this is needed for clinical reasons. It costs the NHS 4 times as much in dispensing fees when supplying weekly prescriptions to Pharmacies compared to supplying them monthly. Weekly prescribing is reserved for a small number of patients due to increased workload and costs to the NHS and is in line with the local Clinical Commissioning Group policy.
GP practices will not be amending prescriptions to 7 days on the request of a patient or pharmacy for any other reason than a clinical one. Community Pharmacies are required to supply medicines for whatever duration is specified by your GP. If you do not qualify under the Equality Act and a Pharmacy decides to charge for 28 day prescriptions but not 7 day prescriptions, this is up to them as a business. Unfortunately it is not the responsibility of the GP Practice to make this free by making this an expense to the NHS and Pharmacies should not be encouraging us to do this.
Will my dossette box be delivered?
This depends on the Pharmacy; please contact them to discuss arrangements.
If you don’t feel that you have been assessed in the way that has been described, please contact the Community Pharmacy in question and ask to speak to the Pharmacist or Manager and if necessary as a last resort, ask about their Complaints Procedure.