NHS prescriptions and private care

What happens when a patient is seeing a hospital specialist privately, or a private GP, and the clinician recommends a drug treatment and writes to the patient’s NHS GP practice asking them to issue an NHS prescription for it?

What happens next depends on what the treatment is:

  1. The NHS has a list of drugs that are approved for prescribing by GP practices. If the drug that your private doctor has recommended is not on the NHS list, unfortunately we may not be able to prescribe it
  2. Even if the drug that has been recommended is on the NHS approved list, we may prescribe it but only if it is being used for a usual purpose, and it is a drug that we are familiar with and know how to manage. Ultimately, our clinical staff are responsible for all the prescriptions they issue and clinical practice and expertise levels can vary, particularly if you have consulted a clinician in another country
  3. We will need a copy of your private doctor’s treatment plan, so that we have the full picture. This needs to be complete including your accurate medication history, medical history, allergy status, monitoring required, plans for follow up, and counselling provided.
  4. We may need to do some research before making a decision, so please allow us at least 1 week to do this. Some decisions are complex and we may need to review it with our senior clinical team and/or seek input from an NHS consultant with a special interest.
  5. There may be situations where we can prescribe an alternative, but we can’t prescribe the exact drug that your doctor has recommended
  6. We may need to carry out blood tests or other monitoring before prescribing, to make sure that it is going to be safe

If we can’t meet your needs for any of the above reasons, you can ask your private doctor to issue a private prescription instead.