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Can you call NHS 111 for emergency prescription?

Can you call NHS 111 for emergency prescription?

Navin Khosla NowPatientGreen tick
Created on 26 Jan 2024
Updated on 16 Jul 2024

In times of urgent need, running out of an essential supply of medicines can be a stressful situation. Fortunately, the NHS provides services to assist individuals in obtaining emergency prescriptions. In this article, we will explore various options available through NHS 111 and local pharmacies for obtaining the necessary medication promptly.

Emergency Prescription Services

When faced with a situation where you have completely run out of a regularly prescribed medicine, the NHS offers a limited emergency supply service through NHS 111. Patients who are in immediate need or require emergency repeat medications will need to visit NHS 111 website or call 111. This service is specifically designed for individuals who have a repeat prescription and are in urgent need of their medication. It is important to note that the usual NHS prescription fee will be charged unless you are exempt from paying.

Eligibility for Emergency Prescription Services

To be eligible for an emergency prescription, certain criteria need to be met. It is essential to ensure that the medicine you require is prescribed to you regularly through a repeat prescription. Additionally, the emergency supply service cannot be used to obtain antibiotics for a new or recent problem, or controlled drugs that require identification for collection.

Obtaining an Emergency Prescription

When faced with an urgent need for medication outside of your GP surgery’s normal opening hours, there are several options available to obtain an emergency prescription quickly.

Option 1: Local Pharmacy

One option is to visit a community pharmacy. If your regular pharmacy is closed, you can still obtain your medication from any pharmacy as long as they have it in stock. The NHS pharmacy service search can help you find nearby pharmacies and their opening hours, including those open until midnight or later, even on public holidays.

If you prefer to speak to someone first, you can call NHS 111 for assistance. The representative will be able to provide information on out-of-hours pharmacies or other NHS services in your area. Another option is to use the NHS walk-in centre service search to find the nearest walk-in centre, as they can sometimes provide prescriptions after a consultation.

In case of urgency, you can also contact your GP practice. They should have details of their out-of-hours service recorded on their answering machine. However, it is important to note that this service should only be used outside of regular opening hours and on public holidays. The NHS GP service finder can help you find your GP surgery’s phone number.

If all the above options are unsuccessful and it is an emergency, the service search can help you find the nearest A&E department.

Option 2: Emergency Supply Without Prescription

In situations where you do not have a prescription with you, but urgently require your medication, some pharmacies may be able to provide an emergency supply without a prescription.

Repeat Prescription Medication

For medicines that are prescribed as part of a repeat prescription, it is advisable to take an old prescription or the medicine’s packaging with you, if available. By providing this information, the pharmacist can verify your prescription history and ensure that you receive the appropriate dose of the medication. It is important to note that the pharmacist may keep a record of your details, the medication provided, and the nature of the emergency.

Non-Repeat Prescription Medication

If your medication is not prescribed as part of a repeat prescription, contacting NHS 111 is recommended to discuss your options. The community pharmacist will assess your needs, including the urgency of the situation, the source of the previous prescription, and the appropriate dose of the medicine for your condition. However, please be aware that not all medications can be provided without a prescription, especially controlled substances like morphine or diamorphine.

It is worth mentioning that emergency supplies of prescription-only medicine may be chargeable, even if you are exempt from prescription charges. The cost may vary between pharmacies, so it is advisable to inquire about the charges beforehand.

Other Ways to Contact NHS 111

If you have a hearing problem or require assistance in other languages, there are alternative methods to contact NHS 111.

Text Relay

For individuals with hearing difficulties, the text relay service can be used to contact NHS 111. Simply dial 18001 111 using text relay, available 24 hours a day.

British Sign Language (BSL)

To communicate in British Sign Language (BSL), you can use the NHS 111 – British Sign Language (BSL) Service. This service provides access to an interpreter who can assist you in contacting NHS 111.

Other Languages

For individuals who require assistance in languages other than English, contacting NHS 111 and requesting an interpreter can help overcome language barriers.


In situations where you urgently require a prescription medication, the NHS provides various services to ensure you receive the necessary treatment promptly. Through NHS 111 and local pharmacies, individuals with repeat prescriptions can obtain emergency supplies of their medication, provided certain criteria are met. Whether it is visiting a local pharmacy, contacting NHS 111, or utilising alternative methods of communication, the goal is to provide timely and accessible healthcare services to those in need.

Remember, it is crucial to always prioritise your health and seek appropriate medical advice in emergencies. By utilising the services available, you can ensure that you receive the necessary medication to manage your condition effectively.


Medical Disclaimer

NowPatient has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that all material is factually accurate, complete, and current. However, the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought after instead of using the information on this page. Before taking any drug, you should always speak to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider.

The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.

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