How to easily request and get repeat medicines 

I take daily two repeat medicines.  I use the NHS App to request repeat medications from my GP, and they arrive by post about a week later. This takes me two minutes effort, and it's really easy. 

To make this happen, I have done two things:

  • To request renewal of my repeat medications from my GP I have downloaded, registered on and use the NHS App

  • To have my medication delivered, I have registered with an online Pharmacy service

In this article we assume you have downloaded and registered on the NHS App already [for a guide on how to do this please visit this article and then come back here]. 

We are now going to:

  • show you  how easy it is to request your repeat medicines using the NHS App

  • discuss different delivery options and what might work best for you

What if I need my medicine urgently?

Delivery from an online pharmacy can take 7-10 days so will be too slow if you need your medicine urgently.

To get medicines urgently:

  • If you already have  prescription, you can go to a Pharmacy,  and they can look up your prescription online on the NHS Electronic Prescription Service. Pharmacies in supermarkets tend to be open longer than other Pharmacies, or you can go to your local duty pharmacist [community pharmacies take it in turns to open for longer].

  • You can find Pharmacies near you, and their opening times on the NHS.UK website. 

  • If you don't have a prescription, and need urgently a medicine that you are usually prescribed, you can often get a short-term emergency prescription from 111, or a pharmacist, a guide for how to ask a pharmacist for medicines without a current prescription is on the NHS.UK website . You can contact 111 by phoning, or by visiting 111 online [the online system is programmed to quickly work out you that you are asking for repeat medicine].  111 will check your medications and let you know what the next step is, including advising where you can get the medications you need.

Order your repeat medicines in less than three minutes using the NHS App

In this video we show you how to request your repeat prescriptions from your GP by using the NHS App.

Learn more about what you can do with the NHS App

Watch the videos and read these leaflets if you want to know more about the NHS App, or skip down to learn about online pharmacies, and whether they are the right choice for you.

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Next steps

Congratulations, you have ordered your repeat medicines. Your GP will now process your order. Typically, your order will be checked and processed over 2 or 3 working days and your prescription will be sent to the Pharmacy you usually use - your 'nominated pharmacy', which we discuss more in the next section. 

All this happens through a system called the NHS Electronic Prescription Service [EPS]. After an upgrade in 2020 to EPS4, your prescription can be seen and downloaded by any Pharmacy in England, if you go in and ask for it. 

Depending on how your local pharmacy works, they may let you know that your prescription is ready for collection. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other Apps to order repeat prescriptions? - Yes - many other Apps let you do this, for example: EMIS Patient Access, TPP Air Mid, Vision, Evergreen, MyGP. Also, many online pharmacies have their own Apps, we discuss these more below.

Why do you promote the NHS App more than the Apps above? Gradually the NHS App will have more features added such as helping you organise a hospital appointment date, showing you your hospital health record and so on, we think the NHS App will be the App to focus on moving forwards.

Why can't I see my repeat medicines? 

The NHS App does not display your repeat medications until around 10 days before the repeat ordering date. 

What is my 'nominated pharmacy' and can I change it?

Your nominated pharmacy is the one you usually like to get your medications from. Before the upgrade to EPS4, your prescription had to be sent using EPS to your nominated pharmacy. Your GP may have contacted you to ask which Pharmacy you wanted as your 'nominated' one. 

Now with EPS4 any Pharmacy can download your prescription if you ask. Bear in mind they may not have in-stock the medicines you need, if you just walk in. 

You can now change your nominated Pharmacy in the NHS App. Pharmacies can change your nomination, or your GP, if you ask them. 

If you register with an online pharmacy, they will update your nomination for you, you can't change to an online pharmacy via the App. 

Lastly, no one, not your GP nor a Pharmacy, should change your nomination without your permission.

Is an Online Pharmacy right for me? 

First consider the benefits of carrying on using your local pharmacist:

  • You can get advice when you visit your pharmacist, they will probably have a consulting room, and you can discuss any concerns about your medicines, their effectiveness, and any side effects with your local pharmacist face-to-face.

  • Your local pharmacist knows you, and you know them. 

  • If you have a complicated illness, complicated medicines, or like that re-assurance, these can be reasons to not switch to online. 

  • Your medicines are bulky, won't fit through your letter box or you can't be there to open the door and don't have any alternatives

 

Reasons you might want to switch to online:

  • You don't like making multiple visits to see if your medicines have arrived. 

  • You don't like spending time queuing for medicines and waiting for them to be handed over

  • You are confident managing your own medicines 

  • Your medicines will fit through your letter box, or can be left with a neighbour, in a safe space or delivered to you at work

If you still think an online pharmacy is for you, we compare a few different ones below. 

Online Pharmacies Compared

Types of Online Pharmacy and additional services

  • Online pharmacies are extensions local or national pharmacies e.g. Lloyds and +Well

  • Most offer a similar service with a choice of ordering methods:

    • Via their website [handy if you don't have a smartphone], they will send your prescription request to your GP for you, this can also be handy if you want to use their additional services e.g. order aspirin ​

    • Via the NHS app [once you register with an online pharmacy they will update your nomination so that new prescriptions go to them directly] 

    • Via other Apps

  • Most offer services such as:

    • reminder message to order your prescription [I find this really handy] 

    • confirmation message your prescription has been received [this is good for re-assurance] 

    • online private prescriptions for Men's Health or Women's Health issues

    • an online private GP consultation

    • online ordering of non-prescription medications e.g. aspirin and other goods

  • Some offer different services, for example:

    • pre-sorting your medications for you into pouches​

    • more information about the processing of your prescription

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