CUH Logo

Mobile menu open

Supply of medicines following your hospital outpatient visit

Patient information A-Z


Your GP has sent you to the hospital specialist for their opinion and advice about the next possible treatment options for your condition.

When a specialist, hospital-only medicine or an urgent supply is necessary, the hospital doctor will send an electronic prescription for dispensing at the hospital outpatient pharmacy; occasionally a green prescription that can be taken to your local community pharmacy may be offered instead. However if the medicine to be started is not urgent then a clinic letter will be sent to your GP to start in the next 14 days

If there is a change to your medicine(s) which is not needed straight away, or is one that your GP can manage for you, then your GP will be informed by a clinic letter that will be sent to your GP surgery. This gives your GP recommendations about your treatment from the hospital specialist. Please check with your GP at your next appointment, or if you already take medicine(s), when you request your repeat prescription; there is no need to visit your GP immediately.

Your GP will then make a decision on a treatment plan for you. This may include offering a different product to the one suggested by the hospital doctor.

Which medicines will be supplied by the hospital?

Normally only medicines intended to treat the condition for which you have been referred to the hospital can be supplied. Medicines which are available ‘over the counter’ from your local pharmacy for self-limiting conditions or minor ailments will not be supplied. Medicines you are taking for other existing problems not related to your referral must be supplied from your GP, who knows your full medical history and why you are taking the other medicine(s). The hospital specialist may recommend changes and ask your GP to update your next regular prescription for these items.

Avoiding waste in medicines use

Medicines can be expensive; we are trying to reduce waste to help us treat everyone. Please follow the advice the hospital doctor gives you about when any change needs to be made. You may be advised to use up any medicine(s) you have left at home first.

Only order what you need from your GP; this is usually provided as a 28 day supply. Medicines cannot be reused once they have left a pharmacy.

Taking your medicine

Medicines must be taken as directed to get their full benefit. If you have not been able to do this please tell your GP or the hospital specialist as this may help in the understanding of your current problem.

Unwanted (side) effects

All medicines can cause side effects and/or sometimes the medicine prescribed will not work as well as expected. Always read the patient information leaflet before taking any medicines. Your GP will monitor both of these effects carefully as every patient responds differently. This may mean a medicine will be stopped and an alternative offered, if there is a choice, or the dose may be increased or decreased to try and help.

If you are worried about a side effect please talk to your GP, pharmacist or nurse who will be able to advise you.

Stopping medicines

With some conditions a medicine may gradually stop working and there may be a time when the side effects outweigh the benefits. This will be discussed with you and the medicine will be stopped.

Further information

If you have any other questions about medicines supplied by the hospital, please contact the hospital pharmacy medicines helpline on 01223 217502 or your local community pharmacist.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151