Medicines are the most frequent therapeutic healthcare intervention in the NHS.

The aim is to optimise the use of medicines by promoting cost effective and evidence based clinical practice and effective risk management to ensure that patients get the right choice of medicine at the right time. We work to ensure our population get the most from their medicines, take medicines correctly, avoid taking unnecessary medicines, improve medicines safety, and reduce medicines wastage

Effective medicines optimisation contributes towards:​

  • Improved health of individuals and the population as a whole​
  • Improved patient care and satisfaction​
  • Reducing medication-related harm​
  • Making best use of available resources​
  • Making better use of professional skills​
  • Delivering high quality, effective, safe healthcare​

Medicines A-Z:​

To find information on a medicine, the condition it treats, useful advice or potential side effects, visit the NHS Medicines A-Z web page on the website.

Your questions about medicines answered

What is the Electronic Prescribing Service (EPS)?

The Electronic Prescription Services (EPS) was introduced by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). The service allows prescriptions to be sent electronically via the NHS spine from the surgery to your nominated pharmacy.​ You are able to nominate a pharmacy or appliance contractor to have your prescriptions sent electronically. Your surgery will always be able to see who you have nominated, so if you forget who you have nominated, just ask them to check.​

This means:​

  • You can nominate any pharmacy within England who have signed up to EPS​
  • You can nominate a pharmacy close to your place of work​
  • Useful if you are visiting another part of the country for a long period​
  • You can change your nomination at any point, or even cancel it and ask for a paper prescription​
  • Prescriptions sent via EPS reduce your need to visit the surgery to collect your prescription

Click here for further information.

What is Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD)?

If you or someone you care for uses the same medicines regularly, you may be able to benefit from using the NHS Electronic Repeat Dispensing (eRD) service. This means you won’t have to re-order or collect your repeat prescriptions from your GP practice every time you need more medicine.

Please see the “A new way to get your regular prescriptions” leaflet for more information.

Can I take my medicines abroad?

If you are going abroad for less than three months, then medication required for a pre-existing condition should be provided in a sufficient quantity. Most prescriptions will cover holiday periods but if a repeat is due during the trip, the GP may be able to give an early repeat (usually one month and no more than three months).

Where medication requires frequent monitoring (i.e. blood tests, blood pressure etc.), it may not be appropriate for the GP to prescribe for extended periods. Please also be aware that you may require a letter stating the drug name and condition the medication is being taken. This is to prove the items are for medical use. Provision of the letter will be at the GP’s discretion, and you may be charged for it. Further information can be found here.​

How can I stay well in winter?

Winter is a busy time for the NHS and there are a huge range of services available, so knowing the best place to go to get the right help is really important. Using the right health services is not only good for individuals but helps the NHS as a whole by making sure resources are used in the right way.​

You can prepare for winter illnesses by following the simple steps below, so that whatever winter throws at you, you’re ready.​

Step 1 – Medications​: Replenish your basic medicine cabinet and ensure you have your prescriptions in order so you’re not left short, especially over the bank holidays​. Please see our self-care for further information.

Step 2 – Flu Jab: If you’re eligible for the free flu vaccine, get it now – it’s free because you need it. Speak to your GP or pharmacy. Find out more about how to protect yourself and those around you with the free flu vaccination. ​

Step 3 – Keep warm, keep well​: Winter conditions can be seriously bad for your health, especially for people aged 65 and over, or with long-term health conditions. If possible:​

  • keep your home heated to at least 18⁰C​
  • keep your bedroom window closed at night​
  • keep active when indoors and wear several layers of light clothes rather one bulky layer​
  • have at least one hot meal a day and drink plenty of fluids​

It’s also worthwhile claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to before winter sets in. You can get help with heating costs through the Winter Fuel PaymentCold Weather Payment and the Warm Home Discount Scheme

Step 4 – Know who to call and where to go​: You can call into your local pharmacy for expert advice on your medication or if you have a minor illness. If you need to see a GP outside of working hours, GP surgeries now offer extended hours for evening and weekend appointments. To find out about getting an out of hours appointment, give you GP practice a call.​ Don’t forget NHS 111 or NHS 111 online can help if you have you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.​

Find out more about preparing for common illnesses and short notice self-isolation.

How can I access sexual health services locally?

There are a number of services across South East London where you can get help, advice and treatment for sexual health issues.  These include contraception, sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancy and relationships.​

Various clinics and health professionals offer confidential information about sex, safer sex, contraception, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).​

You can talk to:​

  • your GP or nurse​
  • your midwife or health visitor​
  • a community contraceptive clinic​
  • a sexual health or Genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic​
  • a pharmacist​​

Click here to find sexual health information and support services near you.

Click here to find free condoms services.

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