If you or someone you care for uses the same medicines regularly, you may be able to benefit from electronic repeat prescriptions. This means you won't have to re-order or collect your repeat prescriptions from your GP practice every time you need more medicine.
Talk to your GP or the person who prescribes your medicines and ask them if you can use electronic repeat prescriptions. Your prescriber will usually be your doctor or practice nurse.
If your prescriber thinks that you could use electronic repeat prescriptions for your regular medicines, they will ask you for permission to share information about your treatment with your pharmacist. This will help your pharmacist to give your prescriber feedback about your treatment and provide you with useful advice.
Your GP or prescriber will then authorise a number of electronic repeat prescriptions. This will be based on your circumstances and clinical need. These electronic repeat prescriptions will then be supplied to you by your pharmacy at regular intervals.
What happens after I collect my first prescription?
After you collect your first electronic repeat prescription from your pharmacy, you can simply go back to your pharmacy when you need more medicines. Before dispensing the next issue of your prescription, your pharmacy will ask:
- have you seen any health professionals (GP, nurse or hospital doctor), since your last repeat prescription was supplied?
- have you recently started taking any new medicines - either on prescription or that you have bought over the counter?
- have you been having any problems with your medication or experiencing any side effects?
- are there any items on your repeat prescription that you don't need this month?
If you don't need all of the medicines on your prescription, let the pharmacy staff know, so that they only supply the medicines you need.
When your pharmacy supplies your final electronic repeat prescription in the series that your GP has authorised, they will advise you to contact your GP practice. Your doctor or practice nurse may want to see you to review your medication before they will authorise more electronic repeat prescriptions.
What can I do if I'm unhappy with the process?
You should be provided with information about electronic prescriptions and give your consent before your choice of dispenser is recorded.
If you're unhappy with your experience, you can complain to the dispenser, your GP practice or your local clinical commissioning group (CCG).
Most prescriptions are now signed, sent and processed electronically.
You have 2 choices for how this works.
- You can choose a pharmacy or dispenser to dispense all your prescriptions. When you get a prescription, it will be sent electronically to the dispenser you have chosen. You can collect your medicines or appliances without having to hand in a paper prescription.
- You can decide each time you are issued a prescription where you would like it to be dispensed. When you are issued a prescription, you will be given a paper copy that you can take to any pharmacy or other dispenser in England. The paper copy will contain a unique barcode that will be scanned to download your prescription from the secure NHS database.
Paper prescriptions will continue to be available in special circumstances, but almost all prescriptions will be processed electronically.
Choosing a pharmacy or other dispenser
If you get regular prescriptions or are already using a prescription collection service (where a pharmacy collects prescriptions from your GP practice for you) then choosing a pharmacy to dispense all your prescriptions may save you time by avoiding unnecessary trips to your GP.
You will still order your repeat prescriptions in the same way as you do now, but your prescriptions will be sent electronically to the pharmacy or dispenser of your choice.
You will not have to collect a paper repeat prescription from your GP practice.
Cancelling or changing your choice of pharmacist or dispenser
You can change or cancel your choice of dispenser at any time. Simply speak to your GP or pharmacist before you order your next prescription.
You should allow time for the update to take place to avoid your next prescription being sent to the wrong place.