In the UK the provision of medical services are divided into two systems: the National Health Service, which is provided and largely funded by the state, and Private Medical Services, which are provided by individual medical practitioners and have to be paid for by the individual directly to the practitioner or service supplier. Any doctor or dentist may write a private prescription to enable supply of prescription-only medicines to a patient, provided they are registered in the United Kingdom with the appropriate governing body. All practitioners are required to follow the codes of ethics under which they operate, irrespective of being NHS or Private practitioners. Private practitioners usually charge a consultation fee and additional fees for provision of medical services (sometimes you may be charged an additional fee for the writing of a prescription).
You will also be charged by the pharmacist to have the prescription dispensed. Private prescriptions appear in many formats as it is the practitioner's choice as to what he uses to write the prescription on (unless the prescription is for certain medications known as controlled drugs when the prescription is only valid if it is written on a special form). It is illegal to make any amendment to the prescription unless it is amended by an identified and authorised practitioner. It is also possible for the prescriber to request that a private prescription be re-used a number of times, however the prescription must be dispensed within 6 months of writing (repeatable prescriptions must be dispensed for the first time within 6 months of writing). Special conditions apply to prescriptions written for the group of medications known as controlled drugs which have greater restrictions on their supply. There are also prescriptions known as veterinary prescriptions which are written by suitably qualified veterinary practitioners for the treatment of animals.
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