NowPatient Blog
Practical guidance for safely accessing your prescriptions

Practical guidance for safely accessing your prescriptions

Navin Khosla NowPatientGreen tick
Created on 12 May 2024
Updated on 16 Jul 2024

In today’s digital age, technology has transformed various aspects of our lives, including how we interact with healthcare. The National Health Service (NHS) in England has introduced a convenient and secure way for individuals to access their prescriptions digitally through the NHS App. Alternative Apps like NowPatient provide all the benefits of the NHS App with more features. This advancement allows patients to view their prescription details, order repeat prescriptions, and generate a barcode for medication collection. In this article, we will provide practical guidance on how to safely access your NHS prescriptions, highlighting the benefits for patients, prescribers, and dispensers.

View Prescriptions in the NHS App or NowPatient App

The NHS App or NowPatient App provides patients with a comprehensive overview of their prescription details. By accessing the “view and manage prescriptions” feature within the app, patients can easily see the items prescribed, the prescription type (repeat or one-off), and the name of the prescribing healthcare professional. This enhanced visibility empowers patients to take an active role in managing their healthcare. It is important to note the service will not be suitable for all patients, especially those prescribed schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs.

It is useful to note that patients without a nominated pharmacy can generate a prescription barcode within the NHS App. This barcode can be shown to a pharmacy for medication collection, eliminating the need for a paper prescription from the primary care GP practice. This feature not only saves time but also reduces unnecessary travel for patients.

Benefits of viewing Prescriptions in the NHS App or NowPatient App

Benefits for patients

The ability to view prescriptions in the NHS App offers numerous advantages for patients. Firstly, it provides a centralised and secure platform to access all prescription details, ensuring greater visibility and control over their healthcare. Patients can confidently review their prescriptions and raise any concerns or queries with their healthcare provider.

Additionally, patients who have a non-nominated pharmacy can avoid the hassle of collecting paper tokens. The generated prescription barcode simplifies the collection process, making it more convenient and efficient. Patients no longer need to travel unnecessarily to their GP surgery or worry about misplacing paper prescriptions.

Benefits for prescribers

The introduction of digital prescriptions in the NHS App or NowPatient App brings several benefits for prescribers as well. Prescribers can expect a reduction in patient calls regarding prescription status, as patients can easily access their prescription details through the app. The electronic prescription service (EPS) enables prescriptions to be sent electronically from the GP surgery to the pharmacy. This streamlined communication allows prescribers to focus on providing quality care rather than dealing with administrative queries.

Moreover, the elimination of paper tokens saves costs associated with printing and distribution. Prescribers can allocate their resources more effectively and dedicate more time to patient care. Additionally, digital prescriptions minimise the need for text messages during out-of-hours prescribing, reducing SMS costs.

General practice professionals are required to take steps to ensure that safe prescribing procedures are in place and that patients are fully informed about the medicines they are being prescribed.

Benefits for dispensers

Dispensers, such as those working in community pharmacies, also reap significant advantages from the digital prescription system. With patients being able to view and manage their prescriptions through the NHS App, dispensers may experience fewer calls from patients inquiring about prescription status. This enables dispensers to allocate their resources efficiently and handle prescription queries before collection.

Furthermore, the ability to scan digital barcodes simplifies the dispensing process, saving time and improving efficiency. Dispensers no longer need to manually search for prescriptions, as the digital barcode provides instant access to the necessary information. This not only enhances the patient experience but also allows dispensers to serve more patients promptly.

Medication safety

Medication-related incidents remain one of the most frequently reported categories of patient safety incidents, accounting for about 10% of reported incidents.

Professional bodies such as the General Medical Council (GMC), Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), Specialist Pharmacy Service (SPS), Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and other regulatory bodies provide a wide range of resources that support good practice in medication safety and prescribing.

Help and support

Patients using the NHS App can access help and support by tapping the help icon located in the top right corner of the app. The NHS App team is readily available to assist with any queries or technical issues patients may encounter. It is important for patients to feel supported throughout their digital prescription journey, and the NHS App team is dedicated to ensuring a smooth and user-friendly experience.

How does NowPatient work?

NowPatient is a new way of managing your NHS prescriptions. It’s free to join and because it is directly integrated with the NHS and your GP, you can immediately see your medications & place orders once you have created an account. With added benefits like prescription delivery, GP appointment booking and free symptoms checker, it makes for a convenient alternative to the NHS App.

  • Download the NowPatient app or use your web browser to create an account using your email or NHS login securely
  • NowPatient connects your NHS prescription records and retrieves your available prescriptions
  • When you place an order your doctor will be notified to approve your prescription
  • As soon as your doctor approves your prescription. Our pharmacists will dispense your prescription

Further information

The introduction of digital prescriptions in the NHS App marks a significant step forward in empowering patients and enhancing their engagement in healthcare. The ability to view prescriptions, order repeats, and generate prescription barcodes provides convenience, efficiency, and improved visibility. Patients, prescribers, and dispensers can all benefit from this digital transformation, saving time, reducing costs, and optimising patient care.

To stay updated with the latest developments regarding digital prescriptions in the NHS App, individuals can refer to the official NHS Digital website. It provides comprehensive information, including guides, FAQs, and updates on the app’s features and functionality. By staying informed, patients can make the most of this innovative healthcare solution.


The NHS App has revolutionised the way individuals access their prescriptions. With the ability to view prescription details, order repeats, and generate prescription barcodes, patients have greater control over their healthcare. The benefits extend to prescribers and dispensers, streamlining communication and improving efficiency. By embracing electronic prescriptions, the NHS continues to prioritise patient-centred care and leverage technology to enhance the healthcare experience for all.


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