As part of the gradual winding down of the Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service, patients in Swindon and Wiltshire are being advised of changes due to come into effect soon.

After Thursday, February 29, POD will no longer be accepting prescription requests sent in via email or through the form on the ICB website.

Patients who had previously ordered their medicines online are advised to continue doing so via the NHS App, which can be downloaded free on any tablet or smartphone.

In addition, from Friday, March 1, phone lines into POD will open at a slightly later time of 10am and close earlier at 3pm.

It was previously announced that Prescription Ordering Direct, which allows patients at some GP practices in the region to order regular medication over the phone or via email, would close fully on or before 30 June.

The decision means that patients who use the service will soon need to order their prescriptions either via the NHS App or by contacting their practice directly, which is how most people in the region currently arrange regular medication.

As it stands, POD is currently open as normal, and patients who have not yet been contacted by their GP practice with advice on how their prescriptions will be managed in the future should continue ordering in the usual way.

A spokesperson for the ICB said: "The changes being introduced will allow POD colleagues more time in the working day to ensure the overall transition process, in which prescribing is handed back to GP practices, is managed as effectively and as safely as possible.

"All POD-using patients will be contacted by their GP practice in the coming weeks with details of how their prescription needs will be managed once POD has closed.

"Some GP practices may begin processing patients’ prescriptions sooner than others, so people are kindly asked to be patient while waiting to hear from their surgery."

Those with queries about the closure of POD can find out more by reading a list of frequently asked questions on the ICB website at

The decision to scrap the service has been criticised by some local people. 

Pensioner Dave Tapliss has lived in Swindon with his wife for 70 years and uses the POD service, he said that the move had made him feel like he had been 'left on the scrapheap' 

“It is really upsetting as there is not only me but loads of people dependent on it,” said Dave.