It was not so long ago that if you were sick you had to wait for an appointment with your GP, head on down to the surgery, ask for a prescription, then go back to pick it up, then take it across to a local pharmacist and wait in line for hours before you could get your treatment.
Fast forward a few years to now and the pharmacy landscape has changed beyond recognition with online prescription services and online pharmacies on the increase and bringing in millions of pounds worth in sales every year.
Customers have a lot more convenience now, no longer having to wait for an appointment or to visit the doctor at all if they don’t want to. With the convenience of being able to talk to a qualified doctor online, and have a prescription approved over the internet, more and more patients are heading to online services.
How do online prescription services work?
The way they work is quite straight forward. Patients need to know what their condition is, or have a strong suspicion, before going online to an online prescription service. They can then complete a medical questionnaire with all of their medical history which is passed onto a fully qualified doctor to assess.
The doctor will then check all of the information and details to make sure they are all correct, and if they need anything further, they will call the patient to speak to them directly. If everything is suitable and appropriate, the doctor will then issue an online private prescription for the patient’s treatment.
What kind of treatments can I request online?
Treatments are available online for a variety of conditions, from prescription painkillers for arthritis, to modafinil used to treat the sleep disorder narcolepsy.
Before using an online prescription service, do some research to check the website is genuine – one way is to make sure the site has the MHRA logo displayed and is registered with the MHRA. It’s worth checking reviews and items about the site on social media as well to make sure no-one is criticising the site.
Once you are happy, and your prescription has been approved, then the doctor will forward it onto the pharmacy which is linked to the online service. Again, you should check the name of the pharmacy which they are using, and make sure it is a registered and genuine pharmacy before ordering any medication.
Once the online prescription service doctor has forwarded the prescription across to the pharmacy, then your order will be processed and the pharmacist will check and dispense the medication straight away.
One of the benefits of the online prescription service is that the orders will be processed largely within 24 hours, depending on the service’s terms and conditions, and they will be sent straight out to your home, in plain packaging for discretion.
How long have online prescription services been available?
The idea for online prescription services first appeared back in 1999 and the first one generated £20 million of sales back in 2011, when most services were still offline. Nowadays the NHS offers online prescription services through GP surgeries, along with home delivery from most major pharmacies.
The advantage of using the private online prescription services is that you don’t need to see your doctor at all.
Conditions which might be embarrassing, for example, STI tests and treatments, can now be ordered and delivered online discretely, meaning rather than ignore the issue to avoid the
embarrassment of going to the doctor, you can get a diagnosis and treatment from home, depending on the condition of course.
For some health conditions and issues, you will still need to see your GP face-to-face as some health issues will need blood tests or scans to be confirmed and fully diagnosed, but once the online service doctor has all of your details, if they feel you may have an issue which needs further investigation, then they will direct you to go to your doctor accordingly.
The online services are particularly useful for people who need to get their prescriptions delivered quickly and can’t get out of the house easily during the opening hours of pharmacies.
So for everyone who is busy, working full-time, or perhaps not easily mobile with no car or children in tow, online prescription services can be a real timesaver and lifesaver.