Prescription Direction

Prescription Direction

October 6, 2015

Prescription direction : patient choice poster now available

As part of ongoing work to address the direction of prescriptions, NHS England has this week written to all general practices and pharmacies to ask for their help in ensuring that all patients are aware of their right to choose freely where they have their medicines dispensed and can exercise this right without influence.

A poster which sets out this right has been produced and pharmacies are asked to display this prominently and as close as practicable to the location where patients receive prescriptions. The poster can be downloaded below and a copy has been sent to all pharmacies in the October edition of Community Pharmacy News which will arrive later this month.

Pharmacy contractors will be aware that PSNC has been pressing the Department of Health and more recently, NHS England, to take action to stop patient choice being undermined, through direction of prescriptions. We have submitted large amounts of evidence to NHS England about patient choice being denied, as has Pharmacy Voice.

As part of those discussions  it was agreed that one measure that may be effective is better informing the public of patients’ right to choose where to present their prescription. The NHS England poster campaign aims to do this.

There was concern at NHS England about funding the printing and distribution of a poster, and PSNC stepped in to design, print and distribute the poster. Look out for your copy in Community Pharmacy News.

Distance selling and internet pharmacies should display this information prominently on their websites and take reasonable steps to bring this notice to the attention of all patients, for example by including copy of this notice with dispensed medicines that are delivered to patients.


The direction of prescriptions is a significant issue for some pharmacies.  Patients must be aware that they are able to choose their own pharmacy, based on the convenience to them and the quality of service that is provided. It is hoped that this poster will help.

Poster can be accessed via the following link: Poster on freedom of choice

Guidance letter from NHSE can be accessed via the following link: NHS England letter to pharmacies

Pharmacy contractors can obtain additional copies of the pharmacy poster by emailing

Action where choice is being influenced

NHS England states that we all have a duty to ensure patients’ rights under the NHS Constitution are met and NHS England take very seriously any attempt to undermine this. Action will be taken against individuals and contractors to protect patients’ rights.

If contractors or pharmacy teams are aware of a situation where the right of patients to choose where their prescriptions are dispensed is being influenced they should raise this first with their Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC). If the situation cannot be resolved it should be escalated to NHS England via the local office or by emailing, including ‘Prescription Direction’ in the subject heading.

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