Emergency prescription can be obtained from a pharmacy via NHS 111 service
Advice for patients

Emergency prescription

In one of my previous posts, I discussed requirements for patients to receive medication on the basis of an emergency supply. An emergency prescription can be obtained from some pharmacies under NHS Urgent Medicine Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS) scheme. This service was created to reduce the burden on urgent and emergency care services such as walk in and out of hour centres. NUMSAS is a pilot scheme, currently extended until the end of September 2019 provided by over 4000 pharmacies in UK.

NUMSAS: requirements for an emergency prescription

Patients who require urgent medication, previously prescribed by a GP, may be supplied with required medication after a referral from NHS 111 service is made to a pharmacy. In the first instance, patients are advised to contact a pharmacy over the phone. The immediate need for medication is assessed by a pharmacist after initial contact is made.

An emergency prescription can be produced only after calling NHS 111 service and after a consultation with a pharmacist at their professional discretion. Patients cannot go directly to a pharmacy and request an emergency prescription under this scheme.

Similarly to an emergency supply process, patients cannot request an emergency supply for controlled drugs. Please note, NHS 111 operator may not know if medication is a controlled drug, and even if a referral is made for an emergency prescription, a controlled drug would not be supplied to a patient.

Patients are usually supplied with a small quantity of medication to cover a few days until a new prescription can be obtained from their regular GP.

Emergency prescription: do I have to pay?

One of the advantages of NUMSAS is that normal prescription costs and exemptions apply when supply is made through this service. Patients sign and select their exemption status or pay NHS prescription fee at the back of an emergency prescription when medication is collected.

What will happen to the scheme after September 2019?

NUMSAS will be replaced by a new service called NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS). NUMSA will ‘will form the basis of the first iteration of this new service’ (PSNC, 2019) allowing patients to obtain an urgent supply of medication via referrals from NHS 111.

Alternatively, in emergency, pharmacist is legally allowed to make a supply of prescription only medication without prescription, read more.


PSNC (2019). PSNC Briefing 027/19: Five-Year CPCF Deal – Frequently Asked Questions. Available at:

https://psnc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/PSNC-Briefing-027.19-Five-Year-CPCF-Deal-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf Accessed on 01/08/2019

I am a community pharmacist working in UK. I blog about drugs, health and pharmacy.

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