Renewing a prescription

Renewing a prescription

The doctor repeats an electronic prescription by writing an entirely new prescription based on the old one. A prescription can be renewed within a maximum of 28 months of issuing the original prescription. CNS and narcotics prescriptions can be renewed for 16 months.

Patients can request the renewal of an electronic prescription through a social or health care unit, pharmacy or online in My Kanta Pages. Persons acting on patients' behalf almost always need a written consent signed by the patient when requesting for a patient's prescription to be repeated.

We continue to talk to patients about renewing prescriptions, while the precise professional term is repeating.

Repeat request at a healthcare unit

A patient can request a repeat from a healthcare unit by phone, by visiting the healthcare unit, or during other contact. The repeat request can also be made through an electronic health service requiring secure login ID, but not by email.

Persons acting on patients' behalf usually need a written consent from the patient when requesting for a patient's prescription to be repeated. In some situations, a request can also be made without a consent.

Repeat request at a pharmacy

The pharmacy sends the repeat request to the Prescription Centre, which automatically passes the request on to the healthcare unit cited by the patient (e.g. a health centre or private clinic). This may either be the same unit where the prescription was issued, or a unit to which the patient's care has been transferred. A repeat request may be received by someone other than the doctor who originally issued the prescription. The patient cannot influence to which doctor the request is passed.

Not all healthcare units accept repeat requests. The pharmacy finds the information on the receipt of requests in the pharmacy system it uses.

If, for some reason, the pharmacy is unable to send the repeat request to the healthcare unit, the Prescription Centre attempts to resend it for 24 hours. If the healthcare unit does not receive the request during this time, the Prescription Centre marks it unsuccessful. After this, a new repeat request for the prescription can be made.

Repeat request in My Kanta Pages

Patients may request a repeat prescription online in My Kanta Pages. It is possible to send a request only to a social or health care unit that accepts renewal requests. Patients cannot send a request for a repeat prescription directly to the doctor of their choice, it has to be sent, e.g. to a health centre or private clinic.

Content of the repeat request

Prescription issuers who have received a repeat request have the right to access the prescription to be repeated from the Prescription Centre without the patient's specific consent. However, they do not have the right to access the patient's other prescriptions held in the Prescription Centre, with the exception of those issued by themselves, without the patient's consent. A record of the consent is attached to the repeat request.

The repeat request contains the patient's mobile phone number, as patients can opt to receive the result by text message. If the patient does not wish to receive the result of the repeat request by text message, the patient's other contact details are added to the request. If the patient's prescription is not repeated for reasons related to his treatment and the patient has not opted for notification by text message, the healthcare unit is obliged to notify the patient that the repeat request has been denied in some other way, e.g. by phone or letter.

The repeat request can also contain a message to the doctor.

Processing a repeat request

The Prescription Centre or the person processing the repeat requests passes the requests on to the doctor responsible for the patient's treatment.

The healthcare unit designates the employees with the right to receive repeat requests and gives them repeat request processor's access rights to the patient  records system. The rights can also be given to persons other than healthcare professionals. Processors may have the right to handle repeat requests from one or more service units. They must always have certificate cards granted by the healthcare certificate provider for logging into the patient records database.

The Prescription Centre marks as lapsed repeat requests that have not been processed by the healthcare unit within 8 days from when the patient records database received the request. A new repeat request can be made for a prescription with a lapsed repeat request.

A doctor can either accept, deny or return a repeat request. When accepting a request, he issues a new prescription based on the old one and sends it to the Prescription Centre. The original prescription is automatically marked as fully dispensed. The patient instructions given to the patient with it also apply to the repeated prescription. However, the doctor can also print off a new patient instruction sheet at the time of the repeat.

If the doctor does not renew the prescription, he marks the repeat request as denied. Once a repeat prescription has been denied, it can no longer be requested from any healthcare unit.

If a repeat request does not belong to the organisation for repeating and it has ended up with a doctor for processing, he can return the request, as can any processor of repeat requests.

Last updated 18.12.2019