Since 2019 NHS England has asked GPs not to give prescriptions for medicines which are available over the counter. The NHS has spent hundreds of millions of pounds on prescriptions for items which are available over the counter, and by reducing the amount the NHS spends on over the counter medicines, it can give priority to treatments for people with more serious conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and mental health problems. You can find more information about the types of conditions that we have been told not to issue prescriptions for below.
The quickest and easiest way to order your repeat prescription is through the NHS App or Patient Access. For information on how to register with these secure services, see our online services page. Remember to nominate your chosen pharmacy so that we can send your prescription electronically, use the NHS find a pharmacy site to search for one close to you. You will also have the option to include a message.
Patients who do not have internet access can request repeats by ticking their repeat slip to indicate the items needed and posting this in the box outside reception. Our reception team will also be happy to help at the desk. Alternatively, you can ask your community pharmacy to order your prescriptions for you – ask to sign up to their ‘repeat ordering scheme’.
*PLEASE NOTE THAT FOR SAFETY REASONS AND TO KEEP OUR PHONE LINES FREE, WE ARE UNABLE TO TAKE REPEAT PRESCRIPTION REQUESTS OVER THE PHONE.*
- We aim to review all prescription requests within 48 hours and either issue the prescription, or contact you to explain why your request cannot be issued. If your request is straightforward and you are not due a review, your prescription will often be issued more quickly than this. If we have a query about your request you may be contacted by text message or phone and asked to provide more information.
- Prescriptions for regular medications will usually be for a duration of four or eight weeks at the discretion of your prescriber. In exceptional circumstances, for example travel, Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCP) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), NHS England allows us to issue a maximum of 12 weeks on one prescription. (For ‘controlled drugs’ which mostly includes strong painkillers, we are only able to issue a maximum of 30 days' supply). For anyone experiencing financial hardship and difficulty in paying for prescriptions please consider 'Prescription Prepayment Certificate' more info can be found at https://www.gov.uk/get-a-ppc.
- It is our standard practice to issue electronic repeat prescriptions which are sent straight to your nominated pharmacy. This means you don’t need to come to the practice to pick up your prescription. You can change your nominated pharmacy at any time by letting us know or updating your pharmacy on the NHS App, use the NHS find a pharmacy site to search for one close to you.
- Each time we issue your prescription, our prescribers will check if you are due for any monitoring or for a medication review. To ensure your safety, sometimes you will be asked to attend for a blood test, blood pressure check, or other monitoring so that we can make sure your medication is working for you and is not causing any side effects.
Why can I not see my medication on my repeat list?
There are a number of reasons why the medicine you are looking for may not be available for you to order online:
- If you were previously given a one-off prescription for a short-term problem, for example a course of antibiotics, you will need to contact us to be assessed again if you think the problem has come back. This is so that we can make sure that the same prescription is appropriate as you may need different treatment.
- If you have not ordered your medicine for a while, your medicine may have expired from your list. Please contact us to explain.
- If you only recently started this medication, or have changed dose, we may have asked you to contact us for a review before we issue more. This is so we can check the medicine is effective for you and that you have completed any necessary tests before we decide to prescribe it as a longer-term repeat.
- If you have recently been seen in a hospital clinic and they have made a non-urgent recommendation, it can take several weeks for us to receive your clinic letter and add any new items to your list. Please be patient if you can!
- If the medicine you require is not on your list, please contact us using e-consult.
Why am I being asked to Purchase Over-the-Counter Medicines?
Across the NHS, GP practice will not generally give prescriptions for over-the-counter medicines for minor conditions. Instead, we ask that you to buy these from your local pharmacy or supermarket. Community pharmacies can also help with advice on managing minor health conditions and use of medicines.
Example short term conditions that can be treated safely and effectively without a prescription:
- Colds and sore throats
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Head lice
- Dry skin
- Ringworm and athlete's foot
- Mild to moderate hay-fever and allergies
Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. For example, if you suffer with a long-term painful condition, it may be appropriate for us to prescribe paracetamol on prescription, but for short-term problems, most people will be asked to purchase this.
What is a Repeat Dispensing Prescription?
This system is sometimes used for stable repeat medications and allows your GP to send a series, or ‘batch’, of repeat prescriptions to your pharmacy in one go. This means there is no need for you to order them each time, you just need to ask your pharmacy to get your next repeat ready for you to collect, or for them to deliver to your home.
A repeat dispensing will usually be for one or two months at a time, repeated for up to a year. When the batch of prescriptions runs out, you will need to order a new prescription and may need to attend for monitoring or speak to your GP, nurse, or practice pharmacist for a review. Your pharmacy should tell you when you are on the last repeat and need to re-order.