top of page

Private to NHS Prescriptions

Prescribing of medicines by your GP following assessment or treatment by a Private Doctor


If you are entitled to NHS care you do not lose your entitlement to further NHS treatment if you choose to buy additional private care. This leaflet explains the responsibilities of your GP when they are asked to prescribe a medicine after your appointment with a private doctor.

Whenever a GP prescribes a medicine for you they are taking full responsibility for your care, even if the medicine is recommended for you by another doctor. It, therefore, cannot always be expected that your GP will prescribe the medicine(s) recommended for you by the private doctor.

Please be aware that your GP may not agree to prescribe the medicine in the following circumstances:

  • The GP has not had adequate communication from the private doctor to explain the reasons why you need the medicine.

  • The GP does not believe the medicine is appropriate or necessary for you.

  • The medicine is not licensed or is being used outside of its licensed use in the UK.

  • The GP does not feel they have the specialist expertise to monitor the medicine and to ensure it is safe and working for you.

  • The use of the medicine is not in line with national or local prescribing guidelines.

  • Your GP believes that a different medicine which is very similar and commonly prescribed on the NHS will be just as effective or appropriate for you to take instead.

  • You are seen by a private doctor/specialist without referral from your NHS GP.

Your GP will be able to prescribe the medicine for you, if the private doctor informs the GP why you need the medicine, and provided that none of the above applies.

Please note that the same rules apply if another NHS doctor – for example hospital doctor – asks your GP to prescribe a medicine for you, not just a private doctor.

If the GP cannot prescribe the medicine, they will give you a clear explanation of the reason for this and will also contact your private doctor. Your GP may give you the option of having a different but equally effective medicine prescribed on the NHS or you may wish to pay privately for the original medicine via your private doctor.  


If you have any questions please speak to your GP.

bottom of page