Have you recently moved and want to change your pharmacy? Or perhaps you are not happy with the service you have been receiving from your current pharmacy; whatever the reason changing a nominated pharmacy is an easy process and can be done in several ways. How to change a nominated pharmacy? In this post, I will discuss 8 easy ways of changing your nominated pharmacy. Patients who look for information on prescription transfer can read a related post: How to Transfer a Prescription to Another Pharmacy.
What is a nominated pharmacy?
A nominated pharmacy is a pharmacy that is chosen by a patient to which her/his electronic prescriptions are sent to by default. In the UK, electronic prescription service is becoming a default method of prescription transfer between surgeries and pharmacies. Changing a nomination would also apply to ‘normal’ non-electronic prescriptions, as nomination details are normally imprinted in the top left corner of paper (FP10) prescriptions.
8 easy ways of changing a nominated pharmacy
GP surgeries and pharmacies can change a patient’s nominated pharmacy. Change of nomination can only happen after consent is given by a patient to process the nomination. Although consent does not need to be in writing, verbal communication is recommended. Even after a nomination is in place (PCNS, ND):
- Patients can request to get a paper prescription. However, with phase 4 of electronic prescription service rollout in the UK, paper prescriptions will be replaced with electronic tokens (EPS paper tokens). EPS tokens can also be collected from a GP surgery like any other paper prescriptions. EPS tokens do not have a signature of the prescriber visible in the usually designated space of FP10 prescriptions.
- GP surgery may not suggest/persuade a pharmacy for dispensing of patient’s prescriptions.
- Pharmacies must respect a patient’s choice for a nominated pharmacy and should not use any incentives to influence a patient’s choice of a nominated pharmacy.
How to change a nominated pharmacy?
1. Changing nomination in person
Walk into your new chosen pharmacy and tell a pharmacy staff that you want this pharmacy to be a nominated pharmacy for you or in plain language inform the staff that you wish for your prescriptions to be sent to this pharmacy. If you have never been to this particular pharmacy before, a pharmacy team will need to find your details on NHS ‘system’ to change your nomination. For this, they will need your:
- NHS number or
- full name, date of birth and address
The change of nomination comes into effect straight away. Any new prescriptions send moving forward by your GP would be sent directly to your newly chosen pharmacy.
2. Changing nomination over the phone
The above process can be done over the phone. Patients may ring a chosen pharmacy and explain that they wish this pharmacy to be nominated pharmacy going forward.
3. Speak to your GP practice
A GP surgery can change nominations in person or over the phone.
4. Change nomination online
Many of GP practices in the UK use SystmOnline to allow patients to manage many areas of their healthcare, including:
- management of GP appointments,
- requests for repeat medication
- management of personal demographic details
- completing questionnaires
SystmOnline is available online or via a free iPhone or Android app. Speak to your surgery to get registration details and website address to access this system. You will at least one form of ID to get access to SystmOnline. Speak to a receptionist to see what form of id(s) are required to get access details to SystmOnline.
SystmOnline has the option to change a nominated pharmacy. SystmOnline lists automatically the closest pharmacies located to patients. Simply choose a pharmacy from the list and update your nominated pharmacy by pressing ‘choose’ next to the name of the preferred pharmacy.
5. Changing nominated pharmacy with NHS App
NHS App is a free, ‘official’ smartphone app provided by NHS. NHS app allows to access a range of services including ordering of repeatable medication.
From April 2020 patients are able to change nominated pharmacy with NHS App. This option was added in response to Covid-19 to allow patients to easily choose a pharmacy, which suits them the best.
6. Choosing nominated pharmacy with a repeat slip
Each prescription or EPS token (copy of an electronic prescription) has a repeat slip attached, which lists a patient’s repeatable medications. One way of the ordering of a repeat medication is to drop this part off in the surgery. Each repeat slip usually lists local pharmacies to which the requested prescription can be sent to. Patients can choose any pharmacy from the list by ticking a box next to an appropriate pharmacy name. Additionally, I would strongly advise to make a note at the bottom of the repeat asking to change the nomination.
7. Sign up with an online pharmacy
Patients who sign up to online pharmacies to manage their medication will have their nomination updated to the chosen pharmacy automatically, once registration is completed and consent is given. Large UK pharmacies such as Boots Pharmacy and Lloyds Pharmacy offer the management of patient’s repeatable medication online with drugs delivered to the patient’s home address or local pharmacy.
Pharmacy2u is the biggest (online) pharmacy in the UK which operates completely online.
8. Removing a nomination
Patients may ask their current pharmacy or GP surgery to remove their nomination. In this case, a patient will not have any pharmacy assigned until another nomination takes place. Any future request for medication from a GP surgery would produce an electronic prescription available to download from the NHS spine by any pharmacy. Alternatively, patients may ask for EPS token/prescription to be printed by doctors surgery, which can be collected directly from the surgery.
Changing a nominated pharmacy: possible problems
In relation to pharmacy nominations, some of the points listed below may happen on an occasional basis.
- A patient nominated to one pharmacy has requested a prescription to be sent to another pharmacy; however, the instructions are missed by surgery, and consequently, a prescription is sent to the same pharmacy.
- Patient visiting different pharmacy with one-off script gets nominated with little information on the actual consequences of a nomination.
Note: when in doubt, pharmacy staff can use the EPS tracker to search for any electronic prescriptions issued by a GP surgery. EPS tracker is an NHS service available to pharmacy teams, which additionally provides information on the location of the prescription.
How to change a nominated pharmacy: FAQ
How do I change pharmacies?
In order to change pharmacy, patients need to change a nomination to a new pharmacy. A member of staff from GP surgery or pharmacy can change your nomination. Nominations can also be changed with the use of GP online services provided by GP surgery.
Can you use two different pharmacies?
Patients can use any number of pharmacies; however, if patients have a nomination in place, by default, any prescriptions are sent to a nominated pharmacy. Patients can remove a nomination or request collection of prescription / EPS token from surgery and take it to any pharmacy.
Can you get a repeat prescription without going to the doctors?
It is possible to order a repeat prescription without seeing a doctor; however, a doctor needs to allow for medication to be repeatable. During an initial consultation, a GP should inform the patient if the medication is repeatable and for how long.
Are paper prescriptions being phased out?
Yes. Electronic prescription service is becoming a default method of prescription transfer between surgeries and pharmacies. Although paper prescriptions are being phased out, when necessary, patients will be able to get a paper copy of EPS token instead.
Is Pharmacy2U an NHS service?
Pharmay2u is a limited company which provides an NHS service. Any pharmacy which wishes to dispense NHS prescriptions needs to apply for an NHS contract to provide this service.
PSNC (ND). Nomination and patient consent. Available at: https://psnc.org.uk/dispensing-supply/eps/patient-nomination-of-a-dispensing-site/nomination-and-patient-consent/ Accessed on 23/02/2020