With the Covid-19 nightmare going on all around us at the moment, we have been inundated with advice after advice and adverts after adverts on health products and services. But we, like probably many of you, were a little confused when specific advice was released regarding the NHS Prescription Delivery Service.
So here at Potters Magical Money, we wanted to take a look at the prescription delivery service and find out whether there was a money, effort and time saving opportunity for all of us or whether the service was just for the vulnerable.
There seems to be a little confusion regarding who NHS Prescription Delivery the service is for and whether it includes a cost. Additionally, it becomes a little more complicated when you investigate whether and how the service works for new prescriptions and repeat prescriptions.
We are going to try to break it down for you, so that you can consider whether the NHS prescription delivery service can be used by you and whether it offers any benefits.
- Who is it for?
- How does it work? (New Prescriptions)
- How does it work? (Repeat Prescriptions)
- What’s the Cost?
- Is it Confidential?
- Your Choices?
- Is there any benefits?
- Should I use the service?
In future articles, we will then review some of the providers of the NHS prescription delivery service.
Who Can Use the Free Delivery Service?
Surprisingly to us, but maybe not to you, the NHS prescription delivery service is actually available to everyone who is an NHS user.
Despite the Covid-19 specific advice that came out from the NHS, the service has already been in place for quite a few years and hasn’t changed due to Covid-19.
The impression appears to have been created that the delivery service was specifically for the vulnerable. i.e. those that could not travel to a pharmacy. But this is not true! Absolutely anybody that has a NHS prescription, whether new or repeat) can use the prescription delivery service.
How Does it Work for New Prescriptions?
For new and repeat prescriptions, the procedure is slightly different initially although the end result is the same.
For new prescriptions, you will need a medical professional (i.e. a GP) to prescribe the relevant medication initially. Normally this would include having an appointment at the GP surgery or hospital, although, due to Covid-19, a new telephone and online appointment system has been introduced to replace the need for face-to-face contact etc.
At the end of the appointment, you will be asked to nominate a specific pharmacy. The medical professional will then send the prescription electronically to the nominated pharmacy.
The above process is exactly the same whether you decide to use a prescription delivery service or if you still wish to collect your medication from your local pharmacy.
The easy part of the process is that you then simply advise your chosen pharmacist that you want to take advantage of their delivery service, assuming they offer one.
How Does it Work for Repeat Prescriptions?
As stated earlier, the repeat prescription process works slightly different to the new prescription process.
For repeat prescriptions you simply need to contact your pharmacist directly. They will then request the repeat prescription from your medical professional for you. If there are any issues, i.e. your GP wants to do a check-up, then your medical professional will get in touch you and your pharmacist will advise you that the prescription has been refused or suspended.
Assuming there are no issues with your repeat prescription request, then your pharmacist will be able to make-up your prescription.
Even if you change pharmacist, they should still be able to request a repeat prescription from your medical professional as long as you give them the details of the medication that you require and the details of the medical professional that originally prescribed the medication.
At the time of requesting your repeat prescription you can once more simply advise your chosen pharmacist that you want to take advantage of their delivery service.
Is it Really Free?
Most pharmacists are offering free delivery of NHS prescriptions, but you do need to do a little research to check. For Example Boots offer free NHS prescription delivery if you are using their online service but charge if you use their local store delivery service.
All the companies that we will review on Potters Magical Money will offer some sort of free delivery service for NHS prescriptions, after all we are about saving you money.
But beware, if you have a private (non-NHS) prescriptions then most of the companies will not offer free delivery.
Additionally, if you pay for NHS prescriptions, i.e. you are not exempt for any reason, then you will still need to pay for the prescription before it is delivered for free.
Is it Secure and Confidential?
The resounding answering to this question should be YES!. This is your medical and private data and all pharmacists and medical professionals are tasked with and should be treating it as very confidential. The electronic systems they are using should be very secure.
It should be noted that the NHS state that your electronic prescriptions will be seen by the same people in GP practices, pharmacies and NHS prescription payment and fraud agencies that used to see your paper prescription.
Of course the extra individuals to have access to some of your details will be the delivery drivers or companies. But all the pharmacies should be offering concealed packaging etc to ensure your private information is kept private (excluding your address obviously).
But, there have been some concerns raised with some pharmacists offering online prescription and delivery services. So we should be wary and do our research and only use reputable companies.
In addition, just like our bank details, no electronic system is truly secure. Hackers do exist and in rare circumstances you may be at risk. We don’t care consider that risk to be anymore higher than normal. Your medical and private data is held electronically in several places from the HMRC to your doctors and hospitals and we are sure all do their upmost to keep it secure, especially when needing to transfer data between departments etc.
Choosing a Pharmacy!
Most of us are used to using our local pharmacist and in a lot of situations there is no reason to change this. A lot of local pharmacists, whether they are independent or part of a national chain offer a NHS prescription delivery service.
Initially it is worth checking with your local pharmacist to see if they offer a delivery service, especially if you wish to remain loyal etc.
It certainly appears that all the national chain pharmacists, such as Boots, Well, SuperDrug and Lloyds offer a NHS prescription free delivery service. As national companies these should have more solid reliable services so are certainly worth considering.
When choosing a pharmacy to deliver your NHS prescriptions you should consider and research the following :-
- Is it free delivery?
- Have the company had any issues with security or confidentially?
- What is the delivery method?
- What is the delivery timescale?
- What other services do the pharmacist offer?
What are the Benefits?
The first obvious benefit is it is free. You will be making a saving on your time, effort and fuel possibly.
Especially with the Covid-19 situation at the moment, social distancing means that you can save yourself the stress of queuing and utilise the chance to stay-at-home.
Another major benefit of using the service, is that once you have registered you will get the opportunity to utilise all the other services that the pharmacists offer.
Did you know that all pharmacists offer a free New Medicine Service(NMS)? This is where the pharmacist will support you over several weeks so that you use new medicine correctly and effectively. They will help monitor side-effects and advise on any action you need to take.
Do you need non-prescription medicines? Do you want to discuss personal medical conditions but do not want to visit to your GP? Pharmacists can help with all of this and much more. But beware ordering non-prescription medicines or even baby nappies etc could result in delivery charges.
Of course, the bigger more well-known national chains such as Boots and SuperDrug offer a lot more than just medicines.
Should I use a Free Prescription Delivery Service
The simple answer is YES! We should be using a free prescription delivery service during Covid-19 and beyond.
Let’s take advantage of the cost-saving and time-saving that this service provides! There really is no disadvantages if you plan it correctly. You can get your medicines delivered in plenty of time and utilise all the other services that your pharmacy has to offer. And in most situations you can stay loyal to your local pharmacist if you wish.
The free NHS prescription delivery service is available to everyone that is an NHS user.
Here at Potters Magical Money, we try to highlight as many money-saving opportunities as we can and we hope that we have helped you with this article. Why not take a look at some of our other money-saving articles such as making your own face-mask for fun?
Of course, alongside saving money, we also want to help you make money!. Many options are off the table at the moment with the Covid-19 lockdown, but we can suggest one money-making opportunity you could start whilst you have more free time available during lockdown. Why not take a look at one of our 2020 Best Business Opportunities, which you can do during lockdown at home.
Finally, please bookmark our site and return for more money saving ideas from Potters Magical Money. Feel free to comment or share your ideas below