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Prescriptions and medication

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How to obtain online access to your prescriptions

Online access to your medical record can allow you to book and change appointments, order prescriptions, review any test results and review your notes. This is easy to arrange, and we explain the benefits and how to do it under Online Access To Your Medical Record.

Practice process for medication

You can order repeat prescriptions in a number of ways:

  • Online: This is a quick and simple way of ordering your medication. There is information on how you can do this under online access to your records or if you are already registered you can log in above.
  • Electronic repeat dispensing (eRD) allows your GP to send a series of repeat prescriptions to your pharmacy in one go, so there’s no need for you to order them each time. So, for example, instead of you putting in a request for a repeat prescriptions every 2 months for the next year, this is done in one go and you just have to collect the medication every two months direct from your pharmacy. Information on the electronic repeat dispensing process in our practice is covered below with more general information on eRD found under Prescription and Medicine Management.
  • In person: You can drop in your prescription into our order box outside the surgery. The request MUST be accompanied by a repeat prescription slip (right hand page of prescription) clearly marked with the medication required.
  • By post: You can post your request to us. The request MUST be accompanied by a repeat prescription slip (right hand page of prescription) clearly marked with the medication required.

Prescription requests – no telephone requests please
We DO NOT take requests for repeat prescriptions over the telephone due to Medico-Legal reasons so please do not ring to request repeat prescriptions as this leads to delays in answering other calls.

Our aim is to have repeat prescriptions ready for collection 3 working days from the day of request. Please allow us three working days to process your request and if you request collection from a local pharmacy, please allow an additional 2 working days for them to process our script. We cannot process your request while you wait in reception. Please can you help us and try to avoid your medicines running out. We have more information on how to avoid urgent prescription requests under urgent requests.

Over the counter medication and other help from your pharmacist
For all patients, doctors and nurses across the NHS have been asked not to prescribe many medicines which are available over the counter which you can obtain directly from a pharmacist without a prescription. Under Pharmacy we explain what are the common over the counter medications your chemist can help you with and other support they offer.

If you experience any difficulties, please contact the surgery. We have some further practice information below:

You might be suitable for eRD if you get regular or repeat medicines that don’t change.

eRD means your GP can send a batch of your repeatable prescriptions for up to 12 months (maximum of 2 months’ supply for any one prescription) electronically to a pharmacy of your choice. You can then collect your medication from your pharmacy or ask them to deliver it to your home. This means you won’t have to re-order or collect your repeat prescriptions from your GP practice every time you need more medicine.  All batches of the electronic prescription are stored securely on the NHS spine and automatically downloads to your nominated pharmacy at intervals set by the GP.

When your pharmacy supplies your last electronic repeat prescription, they will inform you. You will then have to contact your GP practice to ask for another set of electronic repeat prescriptions. You may need to be seen for a review before another batch of electronic repeat dispensing prescription is authorised.

Further information can be found under eRD information for patients | NHSBSA

How do I sign up for eRD?
It’s really easy to sign up for eRD – just ask your GP or pharmacist for more information.

Burnham Health Centre now offers EPS. Here are a few FAQs

What is Electronic Prescribing?
It is a way by which a doctor can get your prescription to a pharmacy without their having to print it. A request for your medication is transmitted electronically to the pharmacy of your choice so that it cannot be lost or delayed.

Do I always need to use the same pharmacy?
Yes, you will need to choose the pharmacy from which you will collect your medication regularly. This choice will then be recorded in your medical record so that your prescriptions always go to that pharmacy.

Can I nominate a chain of pharmacies?
No, your nomination must be a single pharmacy or single branch of a chain of pharmacies.

Can I change my nominated pharmacy?
Yes, speak to your doctor or to the reception team, they can then change the pharmacy your prescriptions are sent to. You can only have one nominated pharmacy at a time

Will I still be able to obtain my medicines elsewhere?
Yes. Your doctor will still be able to issue a token prescription as he does now for you to take to any pharmacy instead of your nominated pharmacy.

Do I need to do anything?
If you wish to take advantage of the electronic prescribing service, then you need to nominate a pharmacy. Speak to the pharmacist at the pharmacy you wish to nominate, and they should be able to sort it out for you.

If you would like more information, a leaflet on the Electronic Prescribing Service and Repeat Prescriptions is available from our reception team.

Prescriptions Charges and Exemptions
Extensive exemption and remission arrangements protect those likely to have difficulty in paying charges (NHS prescription and dental charges, optical and hospital travel costs).

The NHS prescription charge is a flat-rate amount which successive Governments have thought it reasonable to charge for those who can afford to pay for their medicines.  Prescription prepayment certificates (PPCs) offer real savings for people who need extensive medication.

Help with the cost of medication
Under the section “Cost of your medication frequently asked questions” in  Prescription and Medicine Management we have more detailed information on how everyone can be supported with the costs of medication including those on low incomes.


Medication reviews
The practice aims to ensure that patients with ongoing medical problems who are on repeat medication are reviewed annually at least. If the date for your next review with a doctor or nurse has passed you will be asked to make an appointment. Please contact the surgery to avoid unnecessary delays to further prescriptions.

Drug monitoring
If you are on a drug which requires regular monitoring with bloods tests (such as DMARDs), please can you take full responsibility and arrange bloods when they are required in accordance with your shared care protocol schedule which has been agreed between you and your hospital doctor. This both ensures the safety of these drugs but also avoids delays in issuing further prescriptions.

Our practice policy for prescribing on the NHS following a private consultation follows national and local guidelines and is as follows:

A private prescription issued during or following a private consultation will NOT subsequently be converted to an NHS funded prescription if treatment is either contrary to what a patient would receive as NHS standard care and /or confirmation with details of any recommended medication and indication for use has not been received in writing by the practice from the specialist.

Immediate treatment and responsibility
In line with NHS guidance any individual who opts to be referred privately (i.e., outside of the NHS arrangements) are expected to pay the full cost of any immediate treatment they receive in relation to the initial private consultation. This includes the cost of any acute or immediate drugs issued via a private prescription.

Long term condition – treatment in line with national and local guidance
When continued medication is required following a private consultation, the patient will be reviewed in the same way as NHS patients. Where a patient is recommended treatment for a long-term condition and the recommendations made for ongoing treatment are in line with national and local guidance, the GP may authorise further ongoing prescriptions at NHS expense on an FP10.

Following a private consultation there is no obligation for the GP to continue to prescribe the recommended treatment on the NHS if for example it is:

  • not in line with national guidance or usual clinical practice
  • beyond a GP’s normal clinical expertise (e.g., a drug considered should only be prescribed by a hospital specialist or consultant)
  • a drug not listed in the drug tariff or permitted to be prescribed at NHS expense in primary care
  • a drug that either does not have a licence for use in the UK or is being recommended outside of its licensed indications for use.

Processing of request if accepted
Please note, should a request for a private prescription be accepted for subsequent issue as a NHS funded prescription, it will take approximately 2-3 working days for the request to be processed.

National and local guidance on NHS prescriptions and private care
Our practice policy is based on national and local guidance which is considered in more detail in Principles and support private medical care under the two frequently asked questions “Can you have some of your private care covered on the NHS” covering the short term and the long term.

Our practice policy in full to support practice clinicians and clinicians issuing private prescriptions
You can find our full practice policy under:

Private Prescription Policy v9.0

Under travel clinic we include our policy for repeat medication and other medication if you are travelling abroad.

You can find general information on medication under the frequently asked questions in Holiday and Travel Health  which also includes information on over the counter medication which your pharmacist can supply you for your holiday (including a first aid kit).

Medical waste including a sharps bin
You can dispose of any medical waste including a sharps bin normally through your council. Under the section “local support – self-referral” in Prescription and Medicine Management there are links to your local council to facilitate this.

Unused medication
Simple unused medication can be returned to your local pharmacy who will normally be happy to dispose of these for you.

GP practices do not have facilities to dispose of medical waste (including unused medication).

Quality care check list and local information

The medication checklist can help you better understand your medication including information on the local formulary and practice options. Though the checklist is not submitted to the practice you can use it to help support any consultation you have in the practice, including if you are considering starting some new medication.

Other checklists and an explanation of checklists can be found on the page Update Your Clinical Record.

Why is it worth tackling antibiotic resistance?

Tackling antibiotic resistance not only supports you but also future generations

A few questions worth considering:

  • What is antibiotic resistance and why is it serious?
  • When do you really need antibiotics?
  • How can you be supported if you do not have antibiotics?

Some answers to these questions can be found under Antibiotic Resistance.

Understand prescriptions and medication

Under Prescription and Medicine Management there is detailed information on medication which covers a wide range of areas. Under Pharmacy we describe the significant support from your local pharmacist. Many patients are now accessing their pharmacist first before attending their GP practice, so we recommend you review the potential support including with over-the-counter medication for many common conditions. Below we cover some common questions GP practices get asked on prescriptions and medication,

Frequently asked questions

Enter your postcode to find a local pharmacist (including services open at weekends and during the evening)
Find a pharmacy Find a pharmacy – NHS

Under the section “understanding your medication frequently asked questions” in Prescription and Medicine Management this topic is covered and includes

  • Sources of information which can provide a reference on your medication (including around safety)
  • If relevant, information on drugs which require regular blood monitoring
  • If relevant, a link to common long-term conditions and how you can decide if the medication is allowing you to achieve your agreed targets

There are number of simple steps which many patients find helpful. Some of these are covered in the sections above including

  • Online access to your medication
  • Electronic repeat dispensing (ERD)
  • Electronic prescribing service (EPS)
  • Medication reviews

It is also worth considering if you need to order more medication, particularly medication which is not used regularly. It is easy to accidentally build up excess stocks of medication. Many patients have found having a single location where they keep all their medication can prevent this accidental excess storage of medication.

Build a relationship with your local pharmacist and understand how they can support you

  • Pharmacists are a great source of information and provide support not just on your medication but on both long-term conditions (e.g., asthma) and also many common presentations. The full range of support is covered under Pharmacy.
  • Pharmacist can advise you when you should see a doctor or whether they can help.

Nominate a regular chemist for your medication to go to

  • Allows you to collect your medication from one source.

Allow your pharmacist time between you ordering medication and you collecting medication from the chemist

  • The practice has to process your prescription order and transfer the request to the pharmacist.
  • The pharmacist has to ensure the medication is available and on occasions order it in.
  • Allow 5 working days from ordering your medication, though your pharmacist may be quicker than this.
  • Alternatively consider Electronic Repeat Dispensing of your medication (explained in the section above) which can be more efficient.

Many patients value their relationship with their local pharmacist as much as that with their practice.

Under the section “organisation medication issues frequently asked questions” in Prescription and Medicine Management this topic is covered in detail, a brief explanation is provided below


  • If the medication is required immediately (urgently) the hospital doctor will complete a prescription to enable you to get the medication immediately.
  • If the medication is not urgent, then the hospital doctor will send a letter to both you and your GP detailing the medication (including the rationale for the medication). Note the letter can take up to 3-4 weeks for you and your GP to receive.
  • The hospital doctor in either case will fully explain the medication to you.

Inpatient, day case or A&E attendance
The hospital will prescribe 14 days medication (if required) after an inpatient stay and up to 7 days medication (if required) if you have attended A&E.

Choice of medication
A hospital doctor cannot prescribe any drug, they like GPs are guided by local agreed guidelines. This is covered in the link in detail including access to the local prescribing guideline.

This topic is considered in detail in Principles and support private medical care under the two frequently asked questions “Can you have some of your private care covered on the NHS” covering the short term and the long term.  A brief explanation is provided below.

Short term

Once referred to a private consultant the whole episode of treatment should be provided by the private provider, meaning that NHS and Private care should not be mixed together, so that

For private outpatients it is completely the private providers responsibility to

  • Prescribe short term medication privately for any single episode of care (e.g., antibiotics)

For private inpatients, it is completely the private providers responsibility to

  • Provide medication privately for any short-term medication which is part of the package of care (e.g., for a hip replacement any immediate medication required as a result of the operation such as low molecular weight heparin, pain relief or antibiotics following the operation)

Long term

If a private consultation identifies a long-term condition or a need for long term medication which is available as a routine long- term NHS treatment this should be provided by the patient’s usual GP.


  • This medication should be prescribed in line with local guidelines
  • The GP must be in receipt of a letter from the private consultant explaining the rationale for the medication as part of the treatment of a long-term condition and the patient should have been briefed on the medication in full. A verbal request or private prescription will not suffice.

For more detail including information on local medication guidance see the link above.

Under the frequently asked questions in Holiday and Travel Health there are detailed answers covering this topic. This includes information on

  • Over the counter medication which your pharmacist can supply you for your holiday (including a first aid kit)
  • Medication which needs to be prescribed privately
  • How long your GP will prescribe your medication if you are going away for a long period.

Problems often occur out of hours and NHS choices explain what you can do

From NHS choices
Where can I get an emergency supply of medicine? Where can I get an emergency supply of medicine? – NHS

NHS choices explains how you can find an open pharmacist but alternatively you can also use the map found under “Contact Us” and then search under “Nearby” using the phrase “Chemist open near me”. Directions to each chemist are provided with a contact number which is worth phoning to check they are available.

GP practices may charge for any private letter you ask for (explained under Non-nHS private services) however, in many cases a letter is unnecessary because

If you do need a letter plan ahead to arrange this as such a request will not be considered urgent.

Some simple steps to avoid medication waste

NHS England give an estimate of around £300 million of medication is wasted every year NHS England » Pharmaceutical waste reduction in the NHS

As Medicine Waste suggest
“Wasted medicine is everyone’s responsibility and there are small changes you can make to help reduce the amount of medicine being wasted.” Medicine Waste UK

Medicine Waste suggest some simple steps that can make a real difference
How can you help Medicine Waste UK

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