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Everything you need to know about getting an online prescription

February 20th, 2017 by Stephanie Hall

Online prescription services are designed to save you time, money, and effort when ordering and managing your repeat medication.

By sending your prescription straight from your GP to your pharmacy via electronic means, rather than asking you to come in to your local surgery to collect a hand-written script each time you need to refill your medication, online prescription services allow you to manage your repeat medication in a timely and efficient manner.

So if your curiosity is peaked and you’re beginning to think that the time has come for you to sign up to online prescription services, here’s all the information you’ll need to get started.

Do I need an online prescription?

Whether or not you make the switch from printed prescriptions to online prescriptions is entirely your choice.

The NHS has indicated that online prescription services will replace printed prescriptions sometime in the near future, stating that:

“In the future, EPS will become the default option for prescribing, dispensing and reimbursement of prescriptions in primary care in England.”

Online prescriptions are also largely aimed at people requiring repeat medication.

This is because online prescriptions are intended to spare you from having to visit your GP more times than necessary, and people medicating a condition requiring just one prescription will always have to see their GP at least once in order to receive a diagnosis or a check-up.

For the #spoonies among us, online prescriptions are great for saving time and money. (If you don’t know what a spoonie is, you can read the original blog post on ‘The Spoon Theory’ by chronic illness blogger Christine Miserandino.)

If you’re still hesitant about switching to online prescription services, the following demonstration of the benefits of online prescriptions will help put your worries at ease.

Echo-NHS-Healthcare-Online-Prescription

What are the benefits of using online prescription services?

Imagine you’ve just realised your repeat medication is due for renewal.

In your head, you’re planning:

  1. What day and what time you can get to your GP to pick up your prescription (planning ahead for any bank-holidays and weekend closures).

  2. How long it will take for your medication to be sent to your pharmacy.

  3. What day and what time you can get to your local pharmacy to pick up your medication.

  4. Whether or not you’ll have to make two trips to the pharmacy because your medicine is out of stock.

  5. Who you’ll have to leave your children, pets, or vulnerable relatives with while making these trips to the GP and pharmacy.

  6. How long the queue will be to see your GP and collect your medication from the pharmacy.

  7. How much you’ll see of any estranged neighbours, exes, or people you just don’t want to talk to while you’re trying to get your medication.

Echo-NHS-Healthcare-Queue

By contrast, here’s how the same process would work with an online prescription:

  1. I wonder if my medication will arrive at the pharmacy quicker than the time stated on the website...

    OR

  2. I wonder if my medication will be delivered quicker than the time stated on the website…

By sending your prescription straight from your GP to your pharmacist, online prescriptions save you the hassle of having to make three or four round trips to pick up your medication.

Online prescription services that offer home delivery further save you the hassle of having to plan ahead to collect your prescription medication from your nominated pharmacy.

While you may have some concerns about your medication arriving at your chosen address on time, or having to be home to sign for a delivery, it’s important to note that many online prescription services offering home delivery will allow your medication to be delivered through your letterbox without the need for you to sign for the delivery.

Ordering your medicine in good time is also a good way of improving your chances of your medicine arriving in time for when you need it.

Who offers online prescription services?

Online prescription services are offered by public and private healthcare services.

If you get your repeat prescriptions through the NHS, you’ll need to sign up to EPS (Electronic Prescription Services), the process for which I’ll explain shortly.

If you use private healthcare services to get your repeat medication, you’ll want to take a good look at all the online prescription providers out there and decide which you think would suit your needs best.

Most private providers offer delivery of your medication to your chosen address as part of their service, but you will need to check that your chosen provider does this. You will also need to check whether or not you need to be at home to sign for any deliveries posted to your address.

Echo-NHS-Healthcare-Delivery

How do I get an online prescription?

To get online prescriptions through the NHS, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  1. Register with a GP practice that supports EPS services (your current GP practice may well support EPS, but you need to check).

  2. Nominate (choose) a pharmacy from which to pick up your medication once it’s ready for collection.

  3. Pick up your medicine from a pharmacy supporting EPS services.

You should note that the NHS does not currently provide home delivery services, so you will need to visit a dispensing pharmacy to collect your medication.

Echo-NHS-Healthcare-Pharmacy

To get online prescriptions through private healthcare providers, you’ll need to:

  1. Sign up to the provider’s services, creating an online account and sharing your personal details (including but not limited to your name, your address, and the medication you take).

  2. Enter the medication you need and the strength you need.

  3. Place your order.

  4. Wait for your provider to tell you when your medication is ready for collection or due to be dispatched for delivery.

Now, there is a third option that allows you to get an online prescription while using NHS services AND qualifying for free delivery to your chosen address...

Online prescriptions using the Echo app

Here’s a quick breakdown of how Echo works:

  1. You download the app and create an account with us (all your information is stored securely in accordance with Caldicott principles).

  2. You select the medication you wish to order (either by scanning the barcode of the medication you already have or typing in the details of your medication).

  3. Once your prescription is approved by your GP, we send out your medication via free delivery to your chosen address.

It really is that simple.

On top of reaping all the usual benefits of online prescription services, the Echo app allows you to set up reminders on your phone for when to take your medication and when to re-order your medication before you run out.

Echo-NHS-Healthcare-Mobile-App

Online prescriptions have never been easier

So what are you waiting for? Online prescriptions are bound to make your life easier if you take repeat medication and the wide range of options available means the switch-over from printed to online prescriptions has never been easier.

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