To limit visits to hospitals and clinics, the Western Cape Government Health (WCGH) has devised a plan to deliver chronic medication to patients of WCGH facilities. Natalie Watlington, WCGH principal communications officer for the southern western sub-structures, says local community day and health centres will be contacting patients whose details have been captured on their chronic dispensing unit systems to ensure their details are correct. Also, where possible, patients on chronic medication will be given two month’s supply. People’s Post contacted the three biggest open medical aid schemes, Discovery Health, Bonitas and Momentum Health Solutions, to determine their measures. Discovery said it would stick to its usual dispensing patterns.The scheme supports the funding and access to chronic medicines for approximately 700 000 members. “Issuing an extra month of chronic medication to all members living with chronic diseases could deplete the short-term supply of these important medicines,” the scheme said. “We would do more harm to medicine availability for all if we changed the usual dispensing patterns for this large group of members.” The scheme reassured citizens the medicines supply chains were functioning well at present.“When collecting your medicine, keep in mind social distancing precautions and hygiene practices. This is especially important for members living with chronic diseases. Ideally, rather send someone living with you to fetch these medicines, if this is feasible,” the scheme advised.Lee Callakoppen, principal officer at Bonitas, says of its members around 187 995 are enrolled on the chronic medicine programme. Of these, 54% use the home delivery service offered via Pharmacy Direct. “We are encouraging all our members on chronic medication to take up the offer of home delivery,” says Callakoppen. Bonitas members who do not use Pharmacy Direct can make arrangements for collection or delivery at their local network pharmacy or major network pharmacies.Callakoppen says, if members require a repeat prescription, they are able to call their doctors to request this without having to visit the doctor’s rooms. The prescription will be emailed or they can collect the prescription from the receptionist.“Because we are approaching the Easter period, Pharmacy Direct is able to provide our members with three month’s supply of chronic medication to compensate for the public holidays,” says Callakoppen.Damian McHugh, health executive at Momentum Health Solutions, said its members can get chronic medicine via Medipost. “Patients will also be able to go to pharmacies. We suggest patients use Medipost to get their medicine delivered to them to prevent having to travel,” said McHugh.Contact Pharmacy Direct on 0860 027 800 or Medipost on 012 426 4000.