Prescriptions... Simple Rules and Regulations

The Amherst Medical Practice processes an average of 300 Patient Requests for Prescriptions a Day. Please help us to help you by understanding how the system works and sticking to the rules.

Your First Prescription

As the result of a visit to your home or to the Practice, you have been informed that you need a Prescribed Treatment. 

It is likely that your Prescription will be made out and given to you on the spot.

You may later be issued with a Repeat Prescription Slip so you can repeat your medication with out asking the Doctor.

If your Prescription is very urgent and important for your immediate well being, you will be informed at the time of the Prescription being made out and special arrangements will be made for you.

Remember that this First Prescription may be only required once or you may later be given a Repeat Prescription Slip

The first time your doctor decides to repeat your prescription is treated in the same by as "Your First Prescription" and if it is thought that you will need to continue your prescription you will be issued with a Repeat Prescription Slip.

If you have a valid Repeat Prescription Slip you will be issued with a New Prescription for the your Medication without needing to refer to a Doctor.

This is technically your "First Repeat Prescription" because you have now used a "Repeat Prescription Slip" to acquire your Prescription for this Medication.


Continuing with Repeat Prescriptions

When you have a valid Repeat Prescription Slip this give you the ability to continue to be issued with prescriptions for the medication by the Practice until the amounts the Doctor has authorised have run out.

Doctors will usually authorise for 28 days of medication, or up to 6 repeats before the patient is asked to see or speak to their doctor before further medication can be issued. 

In some circumstances 12 months will be issued. 

This message appears on our repeat prescribing slips and the prescribing clerk highlights this for the benefit of the patient.

Please note that the practice has 2 working days to process requests for repeat prescriptions although typically the practice is processing requests within 1 working day. However, it is the patient's or their carers responsibilities to make sure they request their repeat medication in a timely manner and not to leave it till they have run out. 

From the 1st of June 2019, patients will only be able to request a Repeat Prescription either Online, in writing or via a nominated pharmacist.

You may also email your request to 

For patient safety and to help the practice adhere to national guidelines, the practice will not accept requests by Telephone.

How to Reauthorise a Repeat Prescription

When your repeat slips says REAUTHORISE you must arrange to speak to a Doctor in telephone time or make an appointment to see a Doctor. 

You should do this when you collect your last repeat as you will be looking for a convenient time for both you and a Doctor.

Batch Prescriptions

At your doctor's discretion, it is now possible to extend your single prescription to a supply lasting six months.

When looking at your personal records on the patient access web page you may wonder why you are shown to have no repeat prescriptions when you know you have a batch prescription at the chemist. This is because batch prescriptions are not regarded as repeat prescriptions because they cannot be re-issued without the authority of your doctor.


No one else in the Practice other an a Doctor can undertake this task.


Prescription... The Costs and Guidance

Medicines are expensive, but people in the following categories are automatically exempt from prescription charges:   

  • Children under 16 and persons under 19 who are in full-time education.
  • People over 60 years of age.
  • Pregnant women and women who have had a baby in the last 12 months.*
  • People getting DHSS benefits and people with specific medical conditions.*

*A Certificate is required

Season Tickets

See NHS Help with HealthCosts for season tickets and other elements of the NHS Prescription charging system.


Collecting From a Chemist

Local Chemists often pick up Prescriptions from the Sevenoaks Practice so that you can collect your Medicines direct from them. This list is made up of chemists that are up to 6 miles from the Amherst Medical Practice Sevenoaks. It may not be complete.

Local Pharmacy details

The relationship between the Patient and the Chemist is nothing to do with the Practice, patients can choose to nominate their own pharmacy to collect their medication from. The practice is able to send prescriptions electronically to any chemist within England so it does not have to be a local pharmacist and some patients may find it easier to collect from a chemist near to where they work. 


Brasted Practice Dispensing & Rural Patients

The Brasted Practice has been granted the right to dispense prescription medicines to our patients in the rural areas of Brasted and surrounding villages.

Who can use the Dispensing Service

To be eligible for the Dispensing Service you need to live more than 3 miles from your nearest chemist. For example the area goes Ide Hill in the south to Knockholt & Halstead in the north. 

If you are within the area defined by the health authority as rural, and you live more than one mile from a pharmacy you should have been written to and invited to sign their letter in order to be on the Brasted Dispensing List.

To check if you qualify to use the Brasted Dispensing Service please contact a Practice Receptionist.

Items available from the Brasted Dispensary

Prescription requests are fulfilled in the same way as they would be by a visit to a Chemist.If you have registered for dispensing it will say "DISPENSE" on your prescription. Simply place your prescription into the box beside the front door or hand it to our receptionist.

The drugs will then be dispensed from the dispensary as and when available. Please allow at least five working days for your medicines to be prepared for collection.

If it is more convenient for you we can also arrange for your Dispensed Medication to be collect from the Sevenoaks Practice during normal opening hours.

We have a number of over the counter non-prescription goods and medicines such as dressings, stomas, incontinence devices and appliances. These items include medical equipment, such as Blood Pressure Monitors, Glucose Monitors and Nebulisers, and all are available for sale to Dispensing Listed and Non-listed Patients alike.

Please contact the Dispensary Team to check on the price and availability of any items you may require.

Repeat Prescription by Post

All Repeat Prescription Slip requests should be posted to: 

Amherst Medical Practice
Repeat Prescriptions
21 St Botolph's Road
TN13 3AQ

Please remember to tick the Chemist of your choice or include a Stamped Addressed Envelope for the return of your Prescription.

Please remember to tick the Chemist of your choice.


Special Circumstances and Emergencies

During Practice opening hours requests for Emergency Prescription Services can be made to Reception.

Examples of what may be considered an Emergency are:

• Loss of vital medication through Fire or Flood.
• Breakage or failure of an delivery system, such as an inhaler.
• Loss or breakage of a medication, such as dropping a supply of insulin.

Simply running out of a routine medical supply, unless this has serious implications, is not considered an Emergency.

All out of hours requests should be addressed through the Out of Hours Services.


Prescription Questions

How do I know whether the medication that I’m requesting will be treated as a repeat request or as an acute request?
A repeat prescription is where you have agreed with a doctor that you need to take a particular medication regularly for an agreed period of time. This could be to treat a particular condition such as heart disease or diabetes where both you and your doctor understand what is needed on an on-going basis.
An acute item is where a doctor may have prescribed a medication to deal with a specific set of symptoms, and therefore not necessarily expect you to need any more. Even if you have had the medication to deal with a problem before, a doctor may still need to review your notes to see if anything has changed, or speak to you, to check your symptoms. This can sometimes take longer and is reflected in the new timescales.

A Repeat Dispense or BATCH Prescription
This is a set of your repeat medications that you take regularly and are usually authorised by your doctor for 6 collections at your chemist. When you have collected the final prescription a call to the prescription clerk requesting a note is passed to your doctor for a review of the batch.

Our practice is collaborating with NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) which is providing NHS numbers for those patients that may be suitable for electronic repeat dispensing prescriptions. The information is obtained from NHS prescriptions submitted to the NHSBSA. A member of our clinical team will contact these patients soon to explain the benefits of this service.

Why are requests for repeat prescriptions sometimes refused?
There is not an automatic right to repeat medication, even if you have agreed a particular course of medication with your doctor, we are still responsible for ensuring that you are using the medication properly and that it is still necessary to treat your condition. This means, for instance, that we have to ensure that you are using the right amount and not ordering too much too soon. We will request that you attend medication reviews and its important that you attend to ensure that what we are prescribing for you is still working. If you fail to attend these reviews we will have to stop providing the medication until you are able to come and see us. You will get plenty of warning though.

What if I am going away and need extra medication?
Please make us aware of any special requests in plenty of time. We will try and meet your requirements where we can or suggest alternative arrangements that you need to put in place to get what you need.

What if I forget to order my medication and will run out before the prescription would normally be ready?
Whilst we depend on our patients sensibly managing their own medication supplies, we are aware that sometimes for a variety of reasons, they are not ordered in time. If this happens, patients must either come to the  practice or speak to the prescription clerk to order the medication from reception and they will be given a time for collection of a prescription. Prescriptions requests will not be issued immediately. Please do not pressurise our staff to do so.
The doctors will normally be able to review urgent requests each day, but this may vary according to circumstances. However, we are only able to offer this service on an exceptional basis, if we find that a patient consistently uses this service we will have to discuss alternative arrangements.

What if a consultant at a hospital changes my medication?
Consultants at hospitals are specialists in a specific area and sometimes will suggest alternative treatment. However, if a doctor at the surgery issues a prescription they take on the responsibility for whatever medication is prescribed. This means that for us to comply with any requests we have to have the specific details from the hospital. Unfortunately these aren’t always available to us immediately so we do have to rely on our patients to ensure that they bring the information with them when they make the request.
Sometimes a consultant may suggest a medication which is not available in primary care and our doctors are not allowed to provide it. In these instances we will refer you back to the hospital to talk to the staff there.

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