Your GP practice must always approve any supply of prescription-only medication via a signed prescription. This is the case even if you have been taking your medicine for a long time. This means you must order any medication you need regularly and have it approved by your GP practice before collecting your prescription at the pharmacy. You should order your medicines at least seven days before you run out, allowing your doctor to approve your request and your pharmacy time to dispense and check your medicines safely.
You can order any medicines you need at your nominated pharmacy or directly through your doctors by filing in the repeat slip found in your medicines bag or asking a member of staff to put in a request for you. Another method can be through your GP practice portal (either app or website). A repeat slip is a list of regular medicines that you take that you can order. It will show the dates they were last issued to you by your doctor and a date when you will next be due. It can be found in your prescription bag from the pharmacy. You can only reorder medication on your list, unless told specifically otherwise by your GP practice. If you require medications that are not on your list, you should contact your GP to discuss them. You can also order repeat requests through the NHS app after signing up. You cannot order your medicines too far in advance, for example, right after picking up your medication from the pharmacy.
In England, each prescription item is charged approximately £10. This tax contributes to the cost of your medicines. You will only ever pay the set fee if your medicines cost more. Specific criteria exempt someone from paying prescription fees, including qualifying for certain state benefits, certain health conditions such as diabetes and cancer or for children and the elderly. Purchasing a pre-payment card may save money if you pay for your prescriptions and take regular medications. In the rest of the UK, prescriptions are free. Private prescriptions (not under the NHS) must be paid for, even if you qualify for exemptions under the NHS criteria. The price will depend on the cost of the medicine and dispensing fee that a pharmacy will charge.
All medicines prescribed by the NHS must be on an approved list set by the NHS Business services authority. Medicines must meet criteria to demonstrate their quality, safety and efficacy and be a good value for money, as accessed by <u>The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)</u>. Generic medicines are the standard and first choice for prescribing because they have been accessed to be of the same standard as a branded product with better value for money. Branded medicines may be prescribed if they are the only product available or if a branded medicine is required for medical purposes, e.g. brands of insulins do not act the same and so need brand-specific prescribing.
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