Change to pharmacy requests

15th February 2023Patient information

From Monday 6th February 2023

For many years, pharmacies have been able to request prescriptions from practices. We want to improve safety and reduce wastage in this process.   Local practices in Bow (Bow Health Network) and local pharmacies have agreed a  new standard approach

What can my pharmacy request for me?

  • Repeat medication
  • Repeat dispensing medication (batches of repeat medication)
  • Dosette medication

What can’t my pharmacy request for me?

The following items need to be requested directly by yourself

  • Any acute medication (intended to be one-off, eg course of antibiotics)
  • Past medication (not listed as current)
  • Any medication we haven’t prescribed for you before
  • Variable use medication, such as creams, ointments
  • Painkillers – opiates including tramadol, co-codamol, codeine, dihydrocodeine, morphine/oxycodone
  • Hypnotics (sleeping tablets) – including benzodiazepines and melatonin
  • Salbutamol inhalers – it is important for your safety we keep track of your reliever inhaler use​. Your preventer inhaler can be requested by the pharmacy.
  • Rescue packs – antibiotics and prednisolone for COPD exacerbations – this is to help us keep track of usage to ensure your safety.​
  • Laxatives 

What if, by mistake, my pharmacy asks for medication in these categories?

The practice will inform the pharmacy and the patient, that the request needs to come from the patient.  With time, the pharmacy should be able to recognise these items and let you know to ask us for them directly.

Get your prescription medication easily

19th January 2023Online services

The quickest and easiest way to get your repeat prescription is through the NHS app.  If you go to the medication icon,  at bottom of screen,  it will show your items on repeat prescription.  Your request then goes straight to the GP’s inbox.  This is more direct than doing an online consultation to request.

If you have a long term condition which is stable,  and you don’t want to be requesting every 1 or 2 months,  ask about batch  prescriptions (aka “RDS”).  Our inhouse pharmacists can set this up for you.  This means we pre-authorise several prescriptions.  Every 1-2 months you simply collect next medication from your pharmacist.  The batch can last 6-12 months.

If you need help getting started with the NHS app, ask reception,  or the pharmacists at the practice.

If you can’t see a medication you need on the NHS app,  it may be because it wasn’t prescribed for long term use (as acute rather than repeat).  Medications which haven’t been requested in a long time also are automatically moved to “past”. We may be able to rectify. Also “batch” /RDS medications shouldn’t be rerequested through the practice until the batch has been completed at your pharmacy.

You can change your preferred chemist on the NHS app,  eg to one close to work,  or at a temporary address.  Almost all our prescriptions are sent electronically.

Please allow at least 2 working days for your request to be authorised,  as GPs have other competing work and sometimes an extra check may be needed (such as monitoring blood test)

According to national guidance ,  we cannot prescribe some items which are readily available over the counter,  such as hayfever remedies.  Talk to our pharmacist or local pharmacist , or consider low-cost generic items.  We appreciate times are hard,  and it is worth shopping around.

Consultations update

19th January 2023Practice information

Please let us know the nature of your problem,  whether new or ongoing,  and your expectations/ concerns.  This helps us to prioritise and get you the right help.  Not everything needs a doctor’s appointment or call.  BMA recommends 25 patient contacts per day for safe practice;  currently 60-90 is not unusual. For clinical safety, and due to exceptional winter pressures, we are now limiting the daily number of online enquiries to which we can respond.  The portal is open from 8am daily;  we now need to close to enquiries when the daily limit is reached.

We have 5 nurses,  3 health care assistants,  2 pharmacists,  a community physiotherapist and mental health practitioner working with us.  Appointments with these experienced staff are directly bookable through reception.  GP appointments will be offered if needed.  We recommend following up with your usual GP for ongoing problems.  Please be aware there is a national crisis in GP staffing.  Thankfully we have a great team of regular GPs and trusted locums,  and are active in seeking extra help when needed to ensure sufficient numbers.

For skin problems,  please attach an image to your enquiry, as this is the most efficient way to suggest a diagnosis and treatment: for you,  for us, and for the dermatologists.  In most cases we do not need to see you in person.  For other problems we will reach a common sense agreement about whether face to face or telephone appointment works best,  bearing in mind your preference.  If an urgent same day examination is needed,  we are likely to invite you at end of morning or end of afternoon.  Please keep your preferred telephone close so we can contact you.


Making online consultation easier. 23rd July 2022

10th July 2022Medicine, Patient information

Though many have been satisfied with “econsultation”, we have had feedback from some that the number of questions is laborious. We have changed to a new service, accurx. Although there are fewer questions, please do give us as much information as possible so we can prioritise and direct to the right person to help. Not everything needs a doctor’s appointment. About a third of our enquiries are related to certificates, letters, results, medication. If it is an admin query such as these, please make this clear. We also want to avoid duplication, so if you have written in, please allow us to respond before telephoning. We hope you will be happy with the new service

We are continuing to experiencing very high volumes of enquiries (from patients online, in person, by phone, as well as 111, other medical services and allied professions). Sorry we cannot resolve all queries within 48h. We are often working late into the evening and at weekends. As well as consultations, we are dealing with hospital letters, results, and chronic disease management. You will get a text reminder 24h before your appointment or time your online enquiry will be reviewed.

We have good availability for nurse appointments for smears, blood pressure, contraception and specific long term conditions. We also have HCA appointments for blood tests (though this is likely to require prior discussion with other clinician). We have pharmacists who can discuss your medication queries. We have a pod in the waiting room where you can check your blood pressure or weight. You can book these options through reception.

Update 9.4.22

9th April 2022Medicine, Patient information

Dear registered patients: due to very high volumes of enquiries, we cannot resolve all within 48h, but we will endeavour to notify you of plan (eg follow up with the doctor you were previously dealing with). We had 1973 econsults submitted in March, and over a 5 week period approximately 4200 econsult reviews/ phone consultations/ patients seen in person. This has meant we are often working late into the evening and at weekends. As well as consultations, we are dealing with hospital letters, results, and chronic disease management. You will get a text reminder 24h before your appointment or time your econsult will be reviewed.

We have good availability for nurse appointments for smears, blood pressure, contraception and specific long term conditions. We also have HCA appointments for blood tests (though this is likely to require prior discussion with other clinician). We have pharmacists who can discuss your medication queries. We have a pod in the waiting room where you can check your blood pressure or weight. You can book these options through reception.

Staff unwell with coronavirus

19th December 2021Medicine

Several staff members (doctors, nurses and other staff) have had to self isolate as they are unwell. We are open as usual , but running with significantly fewer staff. Please bear this in mind when contacting us. Econsult will not be available over weekends and bank holidays.
Coronavirus vaccines, including booster doses and age 12+. are available on bookable and walk in basis over Christmas period. Further info and times here

What will change on 19th July?

18th July 2021COVID-19, Online services

We have been seeing patients face to face where needed throughout the pandemic. This is a through a “digital first” service. Please consult with us online (via our website or econsult )or by phone if you cannot. Phone lines are busy, so we prefer to reserve these for urgent problems , elderly and vulnerable patients. The best way of booking ahead with a doctor who knows you is to submit an econsult. Please indicate on your econsult whether you prefer consultation by phone, by video, in person, or a particular action such as a referral. Please also indicate if this is a follow up enquiry, and to which GP or other member of staff you wish to direct your question. Covid case rates remain high in London; we are continuing to wear masks and follow infection control measures ourselves, and ask that you wear a mask or face covering when in the practice, unless you are exempt.

Ramadan and the COVID-19 vaccine

12th April 2021COVID-19, Ramadan

Ramadan is due to start on the evening of Monday 12 April 2021 and we urge our Muslim patients not to delay having their COVID-19 vaccine – first or second dose – during the holy month.

The British Islamic Medical Association has reviewed the analysis of Islamic scholars and confirmed that having the vaccine does not invalidate the fast. The vaccine does not contain pork or other animal, foetal or alcohol products – this reflects the advice of the majority of Islamic scholars that it is permissible.? If you are still unsure whether you should have a vaccine during Ramadan, please speak to your local Imam for guidance.

If you are taking prescribed medicines, you should continue taking them during Ramadan, but check with your GP if the doses need to be adjusted or the times that you take them need to be changed.

If you have diabetes and want to fast, please speak to your GP or diabetes nurse about the safest way to do this. Remember that there is an exemption for people with diabetes, especially if you’re on insulin or have any medical complications.

NHS England: How information about you helps us to provide better care

12th March 2021Patient information, Privacy

HEALTHCARE DATA – We are informing our patients that NHS England is now asking for confidential information from your medical records to be used by the NHS to improve the services offered. This information along with your postcode and NHS number but not your name, is sent to a secure computer system where it can be linked to other health information.

You have a choice. If you are happy for your information to be used in this way, you do not have to do anything. If you have concerns or wish to prevent this from happening, please speak to our practice staff.

Introduction – Information about you and the care you receive is shared, in a secure system, by healthcare staff to support your treatment and care. It is important that the NHS, can use this information to plan and improve services for all patients.
NHS England would like to link information from all the different places where you receive care, such as your GP, hospital and community service, to provide a full picture. This will allow NHS England to compare the care you received in one area against the care you received in another, so that they can see what has worked best.

How your information is used and shared is controlled by law and strict rules are in place to protect your privacy. We need to make sure that you know this is happening and the choices you have.

Benefits of sharing information – Sharing information can help improve understanding, locally and nationally, of the most important health needs and the quality of the treatment and care provided by local health services. It may also help researchers by supporting studies that identify patterns in diseases, responses to different treatments and potential solutions.

What will NHS England do with the information? – NHS England will only use the minimum amount of information to help improve patient care and the services provided. NHS England have developed a thorough process that must be followed before any information can be shared. NHS England sometimes release information to approved researchers, if this is allowed under the strict rules in place to protect your privacy. NHS England are very careful with the information and follow strict rules about how it is stored and used. NHS England will make sure that the way information is used is in line with the law, national guidance and best practice. Reports that we publish will never identify a particular person.

Do I have a choice? – Yes. You have the right to prevent confidential information about you from being shared or used for any purpose other than providing your care, except in special circumstances. If you do not want information that identifies you to be shared outside your GP practice, you will need to let us know so that we can make a note of this in your medical record. This will prevent your confidential information being used other than where necessary by law, (for example, if there is a public health emergency). You will also be able to restrict the use of information held by other places you receive care, such as hospitals and community services. You should let your GP know if you want to restrict the use of this information. Your choice will not affect the care you receive.

Do I need to do anything? – If you are happy for your information to be shared you do not need to do anything. There is no form to fill in and nothing to sign and you can change your mind at any time. If you have concerns or are not happy for your information to be shared, speak to your GP.Where can I get more information? See the attached documents or go to or