People living with diabetes in England will now be able to order prescriptions using the NHS App and collect medication from a pharmacy without a paper copy from your GP surgery.
From 30 January 2024, the way that prescriptions can be ordered has changed. The move towards digital prescriptions is designed to free up time for GPs, and the NHS says it will allow people to see all their prescription details in one secure place.
What has happened with digital prescriptions?
If you use the NHS App then doctors in England will no longer issue paper slip prescriptions. This has been replaced by a barcode for use within the NHS App. The barcode can then be scanned at any pharmacy. This change applies to one-off and repeat prescriptions.
Doctors will still issue paper prescriptions for anyone not using the NHS App.
What will happen with my repeat prescription?
You can request your repeat prescriptions on the NHS App. You can also use the app to check what you have ordered, what has been prescribed, and when.
If you have a nominated pharmacy, you can continue to collect your medication without a paper prescription or a barcode. This is because your details are sent to the pharmacy electronically.
You can still order repeat prescriptions with your pharmacy over the phone if you do not use the NHS App.
How does the NHS App work?
Once you have downloaded and logged into the NHS App, you can view your health records, manage hospital appointments and nominate your preferred pharmacy to collect your medication.
The NHS App is currently being used by 33 million registered users, two-thirds pensioners, and an average of 3.1 million repeat prescriptions are ordered each month.
The app lets you see the type of prescription (repeat or one-off) and who the prescribing professional is. NHS England says it is now working on updating the app in the future to show when a prescription is ready to collect.
If you do not have a nominated pharmacy then the app can generate a prescription barcode which you can show to your pharmacy without a paper prescription.
How to access your prescriptions on the NHS App
At the bottom of the app, you will see a ‘Your Health’ button. Tap that, then select ‘View and Manage Prescriptions’. Then select your ‘Approved Prescriptions’ and the prescription you want to view and order.
Why has NHS England made this change?
This rollout across England follows a pilot trial in 2023 in which over one million people used the NHS App to view their prescriptions.
Every digital prescription order will save a GP three minutes, NHS Digital says.
Health secretary Victoria Atkins said:
“Today’s update will mean ordering and collecting your prescriptions can be done with a few taps of your fingers.
“This will not only benefit anyone getting a prescription, it will also ease pressures on our hardworking pharmacists and GPs – freeing up valuable time for patients and helping to cut waiting lists."
Help and support
You can call your pharmacy or GP surgery for more information. Alternatively you can tap the help icon in the top right of the NHS App, or visit NHS App help and support.