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Document Who decides what medication / prescriptions can be provided through the NHS?

England and Wales

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) decide which medication / prescriptions can be provided on the NHS as a whole.

The Area Team (AT) in England or Local Health Board (LHB) in Wales for the area that the GP surgery is situated may then impose local prescribing guidelines or restrictions.

If you wish to discuss this further, you should approach your AT or LHB in the first instance. You should be able to get their contact details from your GP surgery.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own regulations. You should ask at your GP surgery who makes this decision and for their contact details, if needed.


If you have been told by your GP that a particular medication isn't available on the NHS then you may be offered it via a private prescription. You would not get any help with any private prescriptions, even if you have one of the normal NHS exemptions.

An NHS prescription should only be provided if the medication would usually be provided on the NHS. There are no obligations for a GP to prescribe medication if the recommended treatment is outside the guidelines.
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