Advice for patients

How to get repeat prescription (NHS)?


There are number of ways of ordering repeat NHS prescriptions. I this post I will summarise different ways of ordering your NHS repeatable prescription. Repeatable prescriptions have normally limit on a number of issues over a certain amount of time, following which patients are normally due to have a medication review with their doctor.

Regardless of how repeatable prescription is ordered, few important rules apply to the whole process:

  • Issuing of future repeatable prescriptions is not an instantaneous process
  • Patients need to request their medication before they run out of current medication. Ordering of your medication 7 days before you run out of your current stock is a reasonable amount of time. This will allow a GP surgery to issue your prescription and pharmacy to process it.
  • GP surgery can issue a paper prescription (available for collection from the surgery), however Electronic prescription service (EPS) is becoming a preferred method of prescription transfer. EPS prescriptions can be sent electronically to the pharmacy of your choice. This means patients do not have to go back to surgery to collect a paper copy of their prescription.
  • Soon EPS will become a default method of prescription issuing and transfer.

How to get repeatable prescriptions?

  1. Ordering of repeatable prescription/medication with repeat prescription slip

If medication is repeatable paper prescription or printed EPS token has an additional ‘repeat’ page /slip attached to the main prescription, which lists a patient’s repeatable medication. This part can be used by patients to order their medications.

Simply tick the box (if present) next to medication required and drop the slip in the surgery a few days before your next medication is due. Repeat slip should list local pharmacies you may wish the prescription to be sent to.

  1. Ordering of repeatable prescription with GP online services

Repeat prescriptions can be ordered online via GP online services (website or app). It is a free service provided by GP surgeries. Patients need request access to this service from the surgery (ID and proof of address are needed). Each practice may offer a different system (and app) to order your medication. Patients need to speak to the surgery to find out which system is used by the practice.

Ordering of the medication is a matter of login into the website. This process is normally simple and easy to follow.

  1. Ordering of repeatable medication by a pharmacy

Many pharmacies offer repeat prescription service. This normally means that the pharmacy retains your repeat slip and request medication from the surgery every month on patient’s behalf. Each time you collect your medication you will be asked what medication is needed for next time.

Many GP practices prevent pharmacies from ordering their medication, so you may not be able to use this method of ordering your repeatable medication.

In practice this is probably the least reliable method of medication ordering as a number of problems may occur, for example, repeat slips may not be ordered on time.

  1. Use of apps to order your repeatable prescription/medication

There is few iPhone and Android apps available for the management of repeatable prescriptions. These normally allow you to order and track your NHS prescription repeats. You will be able to choose a dispensing pharmacy when repeat request is made. Some additional features may include daily reminders to take your medication or reminders to order your prescription.

Search App store or Android market for ‘NHS prescriptions’. Please note that many online pharmacies offered similar services via their app, however, this means that your medication will be posted to you.

Some popular app for management of NHS repeatable prescriptions include:

  • NHS App
    • Currently being rolled out, not all patients may use this app to order your repeatable medication
  • Healthera NHS Prescription App
  • myGP App
  1. Use of online pharmacies / websites

Large multiple pharmacies such as Boots or Lloyds or Well Pharmacy offer repeat prescription service via their website (and apps) for patients to manage their repeats. Website features differ between each pharmacy. Patients may get email reminders to order their medication and may have options of free delivery of their mediation or collection from a local pharmacy.

  1. Ordering of prescriptions over the phone

GP practices do not normally take order of medications over the phone unless in exceptional circumstances. Check with your GP if the ordering of repeat medications is possible over the phone.

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

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