Private Prescriptions

A GP in the surgery can only provide a private prescription if the medication is not available on the NHS. A private prescription is not written on an official NHS prescription and so is not paid for by the NHS. A prescription is a legal document for which the doctor, who has issued and signed it, is responsible. A doctor you see privately is unable to issue an NHS prescription. The cost of a private prescription is met wholly by the patient and is dictated by the cost of the medicine plus the pharmacists charge for supplying it. Our fee for issuing patients with a private prescription is £15.

Prescribing of medicines by your GP following assessment or treatment by a private doctor

Whenever a GP prescribes a medicine for you they are taking full responsibility for your care, even if the medicine is recommended for you by another doctor. It, therefore, cannot always be expected that your GP will prescribe the medicine(s) recommended for you by the private doctor.

Please be aware that your GP may NOT agree to prescribe the medicine in the following circumstances:

  • The GP has not had adequate communication from the private doctor to explain the reasons why you need the medicine
  • The GP does not believe the medicine is appropriate or necessary for you
  • The medicine is not licensed or is being used outside of its licensed use in the UK
  • The GP does not feel they have the specialist expertise to monitor the medicine and to ensure it is safe and working for your
  • The use of the medicine is not in line with national or local prescribing guidelines
  • Your GP believes that a different medicine which is very similar and commonly prescribed on the NHS will be just as effective or appropriate for you to take instead
  • You are seen by a private doctor/specialist without referral from your NHS GP

Your GP will be able to prescribe the medicine for you, if the private doctor informs the GP why you need the medicine, and provided that none of the above applies. Please note that the same rules apply if another NHS doctor – for example hospital doctor – asks your GP to prescribe a medicine for you, not just a private doctor.

If the GP cannot prescribe the medicine, they will give you a clear explanation of the reason for this. Your GP may give you the option of having a different but equally effective medicine prescribed on the NHS or you may wish to pay privately for the original medicine via your private doctor.

Further notes for patients:
  • If your consultant has requested that you have any further tests that they asked you to arrange through your doctor, you will need to see  GP to discuss this first
  • All prescriptions are subject to our usual 2 working day timetable. This includes the issuing of a NHS prescription from a private one. This is essential for patient safety.


  1. Department of Health March 2009: Guidance on NHS patients who wish you pay for additional private care
  2. British Medical Association Ethics May 2009: The interface between NHS and private treatment: a practical guide for doctors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (pdf)