Schopwick Surgery

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Policy for Private Prescriptions

Requesting an NHS prescription for medication recommended by a private consultant

Following your appointment with your private specialist, you may be prescribed medications or treatment. You may wish to receive this prescription via your GP on the NHS. We have clear guidelines regarding this situation and your specialist will have been informed of these guidelines.

Can I get my private prescription transferred to an NHS prescription?

If you see a private doctor or specialist and they recommend a particular medication or treatment for you, this will be a private prescription. The GP practice will not usually be able to transfer a private prescription onto an NHS prescription.

What happens when I continue the treatment on the NHS?

If you ask your GP to take over prescribing of a medication or treatment recommended by the private doctor or specialist, they will need to be satisfied that prescribing is appropriate, responsible and what they would prescribe for other NHS patients with the same diagnosis / condition.

In order for us to prescribe the medication, Schopwick Surgery must have received a legible (preferably typed) letter from the specialist with details of the medication (a copy of a private prescription will not be sufficient)

Your GP may not prescribe the particular medication suggested by a private doctor in the following circumstances:

  • The medication is generally not prescribed on the NHS.
  • The use of the medication is not compatible with national or local prescribing guidelines.
  • The medication is not licensed in the UK or is being used for a purpose not included in its UK licence.
  • The GP does not believe the medication is appropriate or necessary for you.
  • The medication is complex and must remain with the prescribing consultant.
  • The treatment is a ‘shared care’ medication (see below for more details)

If your GP is unable to prescribe the medication suggested by the private doctor, they may give you the option of having a different but equally effective medication prescribed on the NHS.

Alternatively, if you prefer, you can pay for your private prescription through your private doctor.

This will not affect any other medications, which are currently prescribed for you by your GP.

*Herts and West Essex ICB Shared Care Policy with Private providers

Schopwick Surgery is obliged to follow the guidelines set by the Local Integrated Care Board (ICB). We have provided below their policy regarding the continued prescribing of shared care medications first started by private providers. The ICB is the is the local NHS organisation that plans and oversees how NHS money is spent and makes sure health services work well and are of high quality.

A small number of medications that require ongoing monitoring and specialist input are specifically classified as ’Shared care’ medications.  The prescribing and monitoring of these complex medicines is always held by the specialist for longer than routinely prescribed medicines before being moved to shared care.  The shared care medicines also have locally agreed documents ‘Shared Care Agreements’ to support all parties to share the care between the patient, the NHS specialist and the NHS GP and to keep patients safe. 

Examples of medications that require shared care include specialist medications for arthritis and skin complaints such as methotrexate, ciclosporin, and some specialist drugs with known side effects that require additional monitoring. 

In general, GPs and other NHS services will not issue NHS prescriptions for shared care medications for conditions where patients are being treated privately.  This is because it is important to ensure that private specialists treating patients remain in control of, and are responsible for, prescribing treatments for the conditions they are managing.

Locally defined ‘Shared Care Agreements’, allow specialist NHS services to share care with primary care (e.g. NHS GPs). 

Where appropriate, and agreed, NHS GPs can then prescribe the ‘shared care’ medicine.
If the patient’s condition becomes unstable, or if there are any issues with their ongoing care, prescribing should be able to be seamlessly transferred back to specialist NHS care.

This strategy aims to ensure that it is clear both to the patient and to all the clinicians involved in a patient’s care, where the clinical responsibilities associated with prescribing lie at all times and to keep patients safe.

Note:  NHS GPs can decline to prescribe a ‘shared care’ medicine for example if they do not feel clinically comfortable with prescribing it.  In NHS care this would result in the NHS GP asking the NHS specialist to continue the medication. 

How can patients access medications requiring shared care on the NHS?

All patients are able to ask their primary care clinician (e.g. NHS GP, NHS nurse) to refer them to an NHS specialist service for management of their condition.  Where appropriate, following an NHS specialist review, prescribing can occur on the NHS under a shared care protocol.  Every attempt is made by the NHS services to do this as quickly as possible. 

Whilst patients are being seen privately, the current expectation for medications that require shared care, is for these to continue to be prescribed on a private basis from their private provider.

To discuss concerns with the above policy, you can contact the medicines authority directly;

Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 01992 566122. 


  1.  <Accessed 8th March 23>
  2.  <Accessed 8th March 23>

V2.1 Revised Aug 2023