Private Consultants and Shared Care Prescribing Policy


What happens when you see a consultant privately?

We understand that patients will opt to have some or all their treatment privately and support your right to do so. However, to prevent any misunderstanding we would like to take this opportunity to explain how the NHS and General Practice work alongside Private providers of care. So, we have provided a brief outline of what you can expect to happen if you see a doctor/consultant privately.

What do I need to do?

For patients making use of health insurance e.g., Bupa, your GP will write a referral letter. The GP referral letter as all private healthcare has a fee that would need to be paid by the patient direct to the GP practice. The GP will need to know who you are seeing and when your appointment is. The private referral will include your GP consultation notes and any appropriate clinical information and collected from reception.

Seeing the Consultant – What happens if I need a test or procedure?

If the Consultant thinks that you need any tests – including blood tests – or a surgical procedure, then the Consultant is responsible for:

·         Arranging tests and any medications that might be needed prior to the test, as well as explaining how and when you will receive a date for the test, and what to do if the date is not suitable for you. Please note: the cost of these is your responsibility to fund.

·         Giving you your results and explaining what they mean. This may be via letter or a further face to face appointment. Please do not contact the practice to discuss the results of tests organised by another doctors/consultant. It is the Consultant’s responsibility to discuss this with you, and the practice may not have access to the results or be able to interpret the results.

What happens if I need new medicines?

The Consultant might suggest prescribing new medicines for you or might want to amend the medicines that you are already taking. They will be responsible for giving you the first prescription or any new medicines that you need to start taking straight away, also they may need to continue prescribing until the condition is stabilised. Please note if you take a private prescription to any NHS pharmacy you will have to pay the actual cost of the medication rather than the current NHS prescription charge, which may cost you more or less depending on the medication prescribed.  In some cases, your GP may be able to continue to prescribe these medications on an NHS prescription. This would be considered by the practice and is at the discretion of the lead GP. Please DO NOT assume that we will prescribe this for you.

Prior to this, a full clinic letter from the consultant is required, which is signed by a GMC registered doctor and it must outline the reasons for treatment, explaining the precise details of the prescription; what it is being used to treat, how long the treatment is intended for, and what monitoring or follow up is required before the practice can decide whether we can continue to prescribe.

Please allow at least seven working days to allow this letter to arrive before contacting your GP. If a prescription is needed sooner than this, you should contact the consultant’s team (usually via the secretary) for them to prescribe.

Private consultants may suggest medications to patients which would not normally be prescribed by NHS GP’s.  If this is the case, you will need to continue to receive them from the Consultant.  Please contact them directly to organise this.

Prescribing Policy

The GPs at Woodland Drive Medical Centre believe that providing the best quality of care to our patients is our top priority. When a prescription is necessary our main considerations are effectiveness and safety.

To prioritise patient safety and the best value to the NHS, we are bound to prescribing from an approved list of medications within the South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board.

This is a list of medicines colour coded according to whether they can be safely prescribed by GPs (Green), whether they must be started and monitored by a hospital doctor (Amber/Shared Care), or a hospital Specialist should continue to prescribe (Red).

The practice may not be able to issue you with an NHS prescription following a private consultation for the following reasons:

·         If the practice considers that there is not a clear clinical indication for the prescription, and that in the same circumstance an NHS patient would not be offered this treatment.

·         If the private doctor recommends a new or experimental treatment or recommends prescribing a medication which only a hospital specialist can prescribe within Barnsley (Red).

·         If the medication is not provided within the NHS.

·         If the medication is of a very specialised nature requiring ongoing monitoring, we may be unable to accept responsibility for the prescription. This includes medication that we can prescribe on the NHS but requires what is known as a Shared Care Agreement (Amber).

·         Without such a Shared Care Agreement in place with an NHS provider of care we are unable to safely prescribe and monitor certain medication. This would include but is not limited to what are known as Disease Modifying Drugs, IVF associated medications and those to treat ADHD.

·         Please note as a practice we do not accept Share Care Agreements with “GenderGP” as they are not GMC registered.

If we are unable to issue an NHS prescription you can still obtain the medication recommended via a private prescription from the Consultant, you have seen but we would recommend that you investigate the cost of this and associated monitoring before proceeding.

What happens if I need to transfer my care back to the NHS?

If after seeing the Consultant privately you want to be back under the NHS care, and national regulations allow for you to transfer back, your consultant can write to our practice to request an NHS referral be made by the GP.  Due to NHS waiting times your consultant should keep you under their care privately – fees applicable, until you are able to be seen by the NHS Consultant of the same speciality. NHS referrals are all screened by NHS providers, they are not obliged to accept or conduct the same treatment as private providers. The practice will consult with NHS providers once a referral has been made and inform you of any outcomes should they be sent back to the GP.

NHS patients have a right to choose their providers of care, if you have seen a private consultant without health insurance, for continuity of care the consultant may write to the GP and request you are referred to them (the same consultant) via the NHS locally.  NHS waiting times will still apply.