Repeat Prescriptions FAQ

Prescriptions Frequently Asked Questions: Only Order What You Need

Frome Medical Practice introduces 'only order what you need’ for patients ordering prescriptions


In line with many practices nationwide, Frome Medical Practice is making changes to the way prescriptions are requested.  

The key reason for the change is to reduce unnecessary waste of medication which costs the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds every year.  Our neighbours in Dorset have estimated that in their area alone 1.6 million repeat prescription items are wasted. 

Additionally, empowering our patients to ‘only order what they need’ and to manage their own prescription ordering will lead to a better understanding of their medications and ensure patients are not receiving medications that they were not expecting which is important for patient safety.

The following frequently asked questions and answers explain the changes and how patients can order their prescriptions and access help and support if needed.  

Why is ‘only order what you need’ important?

‘Only order what you need’ is important for a number of reasons: 

Stay Well

  • Unused medicines go out of date and might not work as intended, meaning your care might be compromised.
  • Stock piling medicines worsens drug shortages.

Stay Safe

  • Stockpiles of medicines kept at home can be dangerous to children and pets and to the patient themselves.
  • Medicines are only prescribed for you, and it is not safe to share prescribed medications with anyone else.

Stay Green

  • When you dispose of medicines properly, by handing them into your pharmacy, you are helping to make sure that waste medications do not pollute our rivers and seas.
  • Only ordering what you need means that you are helping the environment because once medicines have left the pharmacy, they cannot be recycled or used by anyone else.

How should I now order my repeat prescriptions?

There are several ways to do this:

  • Use the NHS App.  If you haven’t already downloaded the NHS App you can so via this link on your phone, a tablet or your computer. The practice digital health connectors are supporting patients to do this if help is needed.  They can also support you with proxy access if you are ordering on behalf of someone else (see Question 4 for more information on proxy access and Question 7 for more detail about help available with the NHS App.)
  • Via website, using our online form
  • By coming to the practice. Bring a copy of your paper repeat prescription to Frome Medical Practice.  There is a prescription box located next to our Information Desk, which is emptied daily.
  • By post. Send your prescription request to Prescriptions Department, Frome Medical Practice, Enos Way, Frome BA11 2FH.

Can I request a repeat prescription by telephone?

We ask that patients visit How to order Repeat Prescriptions to see the most appropriates ways of ordering their repeat prescriptions.

If you are unable to use any of the methods please call 01373 301301 and select Option 4 to speak to one of our prescriptions team. This option is only available between 10am and 1pm. Please only use this option if you need to. 

How far in advance should I put a repeat prescription request into the practice?

We ask patients to submit a repeat prescription request at least one week before they are due to run out of their medication. We aim to process requests within 3 days and pharmacies then need time to prepare you prescription for collection. 

There are times when you will need to submit your request more than a week ahead of running out, including: 

  • If you are sending your repeat prescription request to use by post
  • If there are bank holidays coming up
  • If you use an online pharmacy who send you your medication

When I collect my medication from the pharmacy can I put the repeat request straight into the prescription box at the practice, a month in advance?

We ask that patients do not request their medication one month in advance of needing it, as this increases the workload for our team and can result in patients ordering medication they may not need in the future. 

I thought my prescriptions were sent automatically to my pharmacy.

Prescription requests have never been automatically sent; they must be requested.  Prior to this change, pharmacies, with your permission, may have acted on your behalf.

This will no longer be possible from the 30th September 2024.  

What do I do if I am a carer or a relative trying to support a patient who will struggle to order their medication?

A nominated person, such as a carer or relative, can order medications on behalf of another person. To enable to happen this consent is needed. 

Consent needs to be requested by the patient using this form.

If the patient lacks mental capacity this will need to be reviewed and approved by a GP. 
Once consent has been given, medications can also be ordered by another person using the methods described under Question 2.

If you are a carer we understand how challenging it can be.  We advise that the medications are kept organised, so you know exactly how much the person has left.  We recommend putting in a repeat request when the patient has at least a week of medication left.  

If you are concerned that the patient is not managing their medication well, we have a team of clinical pharmacists / pharmacy technicians who can conduct a medication review and will discuss ways to support the patient on an individual basis. 

I do not have a carer but am struggling to order my repeat medication. What do I do?

If you are still struggling with the options provided under Question 2 then we suggest contacting the practice directly to discuss the options available to you.

I am struggling to use the NHS App to order my prescriptions. What do I do?

We are very fortunate to have a dedicated Digital Team who are on hand to support you.  You can contact them in the following ways:

  • Fill out our online form and a member of our Digital Team will be in touch with you. 
  • We hold a digital health drop in at the practice (in the Live Well room on the ground floor of the practice) every Tuesday from 10am-12pm and every Thursday from 4pm - 8pm. No appointments needed, but do bring your device (eg mobile phone or tablet) with you.
  • There are digital health pop up events at venues around the town. You do not need to make an appointment to come to a pop up, but you will need to bring your device (e.g. mobile phone or tablet) with you. Our pop up are held as follows:
    • At Asda, Frome from 1pm - 3pm on 1st Tuesday of the month.
    • At Sainsbury’s, Frome from 1pm - 3pm on 3rd and 4th Tuesday of the month.
    • At Fair Frome (Marston Trading Estate) from 10am to 12pm on 3rd Wednesday of the month.

There is a digital cafe, run in partnership with Spark IT, in the Cheese and Grain Cafe, Frome, every Thursday from 10am to 11.30am

Can I get the NHS app on my computer or tablet, as I don’t have a phone?

  • The NHS app is only available on iOS or Android phones or tablets. However you can access your account online without the app by opening a browser on your pc or tablet using this link.
  • We are working in partnership with local organisation, Donate IT, whose mission is to recycle and restore used devices for redistribution in our community. This scheme works on a referral basis. If you do not have access to a smart device and need one, please contact our Health Connections team online or call 01373 468368

I’ve placed my order for a prescription. Where is my medication?

Your prescription will be sent to your nominated pharmacy within 3 working days of the practice receiving your request.  Your nominated pharmacy is the one you have opted to have all your medications sent to on your request.  

We can also send one-off prescriptions to a different pharmacy if required.

I have been told my prescription has been sent to the pharmacy. Why isn’t it ready?

Prescriptions are sent to your nominated pharmacy within 3 working days of the practice receiving your request. Pharmacies will also require time to prepare your medication.  

It is for these reasons that we recommend putting in your repeat prescription request when you have a minimum of 7 days of medication remaining. 

Can you deliver my medication to me?

Frome Medical Practice does not organise medications to be delivered to patients. This is done via the pharmacies.  If you require a home delivery, please liaise with your pharmacy direct. 

As an alternative, you can use companies such as Lloyds Direct or Pharmacy2U, who will deliver the medication directly to you. 

The pharmacy has only given me a proportion of the medication I ordered. Where is the rest of my prescription?

If you have ordered medication that is not in your bag, it is likely that there may be a medication owed to you.  This happens when the pharmacy does not have enough of the medication at the time of dispensing and must order more to fulfil the request.  

Please check with your pharmacy if there is anything owed to you. If not please contact us.

Frome Medical Practice has told me that my prescription has been sent directly to the pharmacy due to urgency. Why is there a delay?

Pharmacies, like GP practices, are very busy and will need time to prepare your medication.

The prescription will have been sent to the pharmacy but you may need to let them know that your medication is required today. 

Why is my medication that I do not use all the time no longer on my list of prescribed medications?

Medications are separated on your medical records under three categories:

Acute medications are those used as a one-off course, such as antibiotics or those medications that require a review before next issue.  Acute medications will remain on your medical record for 4 weeks.  After this time, they will go into your past medications.  

If a medication is needed from your past medications, a request can be made via our online form, but it will need to be clinically assessed by our on-the-day prescriber. 


Repeat medications are the medications you take every day.  


Variable repeat items are medications that are used on a ‘when required’ basis, for example emollient creams, laxatives etc.  Variable medications will remain on your records for 6 – 12 months before the medication goes into your past medication record.

Once a variable medication goes into your past medication record, you can request for it to be restarted via our online form, but please bear in mind that some medications will require a review with a clinician before we can restart them. 

There will be times where medications are moved from repeat / variable to acute.  This will be when a review of your condition is required by a clinician or where we identify overuse.  If this is the case, you will be invited for a medication review.  Once this is complete, the medication will be moved back to the repeats medication list.

Self-care items

Some medications are now classed as ‘self-care' items, which is another reason they no longer appear on your repeat prescription list.  Self-care items are those that can be purchased from your local pharmacy and do not require a prescription.  For further information, please see the NHS website.  

I have run out of medication. What do I do?

We advise all patients to make sure they request their medication at least 1 week in advance if they are getting to the end of their medication supply. This helps us to ensure that there are no issues with your prescription.  This also helps to reduce the workload of our team.  

We do understand however that occasionally patients run out of their medication.  If this happens to you, you can contact us via our website and mark your request as urgent. We have an on the day prescriber who can issue your prescription.  

If you do not have access to our website, please call 01373 301301 option 4 between 10am to 1pm and speak to one of our team.

What do I do when I have run out medication and Frome Medical Practice is closed?

If you run out of medication outside of practice opening hours you can call 111 for advice and support.  

111 can assist with locating the nearest pharmacy and can send an emergency prescription to them.

What do I do if I am going on holiday outside of the UK and do not have enough medication to last my trip?

Please contact us via our online form and state that you are going on holiday.  

You can also write this on your paper repeat prescriptions slip and put it in the box at the practice. It is not recommended to use the NHS App for this. The maximum we can prescribe is 3 months of medication.  

I am going away in the UK for longer than 3 months and will need medication. What should I do?

You can request for your prescription to be sent to a pharmacy near to where you are staying (using the methods described in Question 2).

If you need to be seen by a clinician you may need to register as a temporary resident with a local practice.

I find it frustrating that I have to order or collect medications on different days. Is there anything you can do about this?

Please contact the practice as we can align your medications for you. 

I use a dosette box. Will the changes affect me?

The changes will not impact medications you receive in a dosette box. Your nominated pharmacy will continue to organise the dosette box for you for any repeat prescription medications. Any variable use items may need requesting separately, but the items that the pharmacy organise in the dosette box will continue to be ordered by the pharmacy.