What to do in the event of planned or emergency pharmacy closures
Increasing demand and staff shortages mean local pharmacies are facing significant pressure to fulfil patients’ prescription requests. As the industry pulls together to address these challenges, we outline steps you can take to make sure your prescriptions aren’t interrupted this winter.
Your local pharmacy will be doing everything it can to ensure you can safely access your prescriptions. If this isn’t possible, our guidance explains how to obtain your prescription from another pharmacy as a temporary solution.
What to do if your pharmacy has planned closures
If your pharmacy is pre-planning a temporary closure, you can contact them to arrange enough medication until they reopen. If you have more than one pharmacy in your local area, consider having your prescription temporarily transferred to the next nearest pharmacy. This can be done online through your NHS account, by contacting the new pharmacy directly, or by speaking to your GP at your next medication review appointment. This involves the process of “nominating” a pharmacy of your choice: your “nominated pharmacy” will receive your NHS electronic prescriptions by default, and you can change this at any time, and as many times as you want. If one pharmacy already has an NHS prescription for you, you can ask them to return it back to the NHS database for another pharmacy to download. You might want to ask a family member or friend for support if you’ll struggle to collect your prescription. Someone else can pick up your medication for you. They’ll just need to provide:
- Your full name;
- Your home address.
If your prescription includes ‘controlled medicine’, the person collecting on your behalf may be asked for proof of ID. The pharmacist might also want you to confirm (usually by phone) that you’ve arranged for your nominated person to collect the medication.
What to do if your pharmacy has emergency closures
If your local pharmacy has had to close unexpectedly, there are still ways to access your medication. You can use the NHS Service Finder tool to find your nearest pharmacy if you have a prescription. If the pharmacy has your medicine in stock, they can issue it to you. Talk to the pharmacy that’s open, or your GP surgery, about how to get your prescription sent there electronically.
If you don’t have a prescription, a pharmacist may be able to issue an emergency supply of your medicine. They’ll run through some questions with you first to make sure they’re providing the treatment you need. It’s recommended to take an empty box of the medication you need if you have one at home, and a copy of your repeat prescription list if you have it. The pharmacist can use this to check the dose, previous prescriber’s details and the frequency of the medication. You may be charged for the medicine supply, as there is no NHS prescription involved. You can also get help to obtain an emergency prescription by calling 111 or answering a few questions at 111 online.
Prioritising access to your medicine this winter
In the face of growing challenges, pharmacy teams are going the extra mile to limit disruption to patients. You can find information, advice and support on the NHS website about repeat prescriptions, and if you’re a current or future Pharmacy2U patient, you can explore our help hub that answers questions including how Pharmacy2U works, delivery options, and how to access our Private Online Doctor services. We can dispense your NHS prescriptions and deliver them to you for free, if this is something you would find valuable in the winter or at any other time of year. We’re here as and when you need us and if you’d like to speak to a member of the team, you can use our live chat or phone us on 0113 265 0222.