How the NHS Prescription Services Works

In England, when drugs are prescribed outside of the hospital, a wing of the National Health Service Business Authority reimburses and remunerates those pharmacists or doctors for medications and medical devices given to patients who filled out a NHS form.  This wing of the NHS Business Authority is called NHS Prescription Services.  The NHS is the publicly funded healthcare system for all of the United Kingdom.  It is the largest single-payer healthcare system in the world.

Prescriptions Under NHS

Prescriptions made under NHS are charged a nominal rate in England of £7.85 or they are free in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  Some patients are exempt for paying for them if they are over 60, under the age of 16 (or 19 if they are in school full-time), have certain medical conditions or if they are unable to pay due to their income level.

If a patient requires repeated prescriptions for a condition, they can get a pre-paid certificate they only have to make one payment for and they can get unlimited prescriptions while the certificate is valid.  With the raising costs of prescriptions, this means that pharmacists, prescribing physicians and others often lose money when they issue prescriptions under NHS.  To make up for that NHS is responsible for reimbursements and remunerations for NHS receiving prescription services.

Distribution of Information

NHS Prescription Services also provides information to over 25,000 managing organizations or prescribers within NHS.  They make available information on prescribing medications, information about drugs, and financial information as well.  By doing this, they can find the most cost effective ways of using prescription medications.  Due to the ever escalating prices of medications, the NHS could reconsider whether or not they should pay for more expensive drugs.

Processing Payments

NHS Prescription Services tries to process payments as quickly as they can.  They use high speed scanners to sort through the information they are sent in order to reimburse pharmacists and others for their medications.  If they scanner cannot read the information sent through them, the information is sent back to an operator that will manually process the information if possible.

Some of the information read by these scanners includes the quantity of drugs prescribed, the strength of the medication, how it was presented and the patient’s information showing they are exempt from paying for their prescriptions.  By scanning this information, they can process quickly and send out their payments quickly.