Your medicines in hospital


Bringing your medicines into hospital

It is important for the team looking after you to know about all the medicines that you're taking. This is so they can make sure you're given the right medicines in hospital.

When you come to hospital, remember to bring:

  • inhalers (puffers), creams, patches, drops or injections that you use, as well as tablets, capsules and liquids
  • medicines in a blister pack or pill box
  • any medicines you buy from the shop or pharmacy (without a prescription) including herbal supplements or vitamins

The doctor, nurse or pharmacist might check how you take your medicines. For example, how you use an inhaler for asthma, or how you use an injection pen for diabetes. By bringing your medicines into hospital they can check that they are the most suitable medicines for you.

If you find it difficult to remember what medicines you take and how often, it's a good idea to keep an up to date list. Bring this list, or your repeat prescription request form, into hospital with you.

Taking your medicines in hospital

If you bring your own medicines into hospital, you may be able to take them yourself (rather than the nursing staff giving them to you).

Read more information about self or carer administration of medicine in hospital.

Any medicines that you bring into hospital will be stored securely on the ward, usually in a locked medicines cabinet beside your bed. If you change wards during your stay, you'll take your medicines with you.

The medicines you bring into hospital will be given back to you before you leave hospital. If your medicines change, any that you no longer need can be disposed of by the hospital.

Don't worry if you cannot bring your medicines into hospital. If possible, ask a friend or relative to bring them in when they come and visit. See the information for visitors for up-to-date guidance on visiting

If not, we can give you the medicines you need during your stay. Your ward will keep some of the most common medicines in stock. Other medicines will be ordered from the pharmacy.

Although the hospital keeps a lot of medicines, it is not possible to keep all medicines. If you don’t bring your medicines into hospital with you and the hospital does not stock them, you might need to change to another, similar, medicine. If there is no similar medicine, the hospital will order your medicine for you, but this might take a few days.

Questions about your medicines

Most wards have a pharmacy team that visit every day. They can answer any questions or worries you have about your medicines.

If you would like to speak to a pharmacist, you can talk to them when they are on the ward, or you can ask one of the nurses to contact them.

You might find it helpful to look through a list of questions before the pharmacist's next visit, and write down any more questions you have.

Please let your pharmacist know if you would like to have a member of your family with you when you speak to them.

Medicines when you leave hospital

When you leave hospital, you'll be given:

  • any new medicines, such as antibiotics or painkillers
  • any medicines that have changed (for example, if the amount you take has increased)
  • a replacement of your own medicines, if these have been used up in hospital and you have less than 14 days treatment with you or at home

You'll get a copy of your discharge letter, which will also be sent to your GP. This letter will list your medicines and any changes made during your hospital stay. Your GP will then be able to give you a prescription for any medicines, which you can get at your local pharmacy.

Remember that your GP might need 48 hours to issue the prescription, and they might need to see you first. Please make sure you contact them in plenty of time before your medicines run out.

We will not give routine long-term medicines that your GP prescribes for you if there have been no changes during your hospital stay. You’ll need to get more of these medicines from your GP.

If you have any questions or concerns about your medicines after you leave hospital, please call the medicines helpline.

Support from your local pharmacy

Our discharge medicines service links you to your community pharmacist so you can talk about your medicines. They'll help you with taking new medicines or any changes to them so you can take them safely and confidently after you leave the hospital.

If you'd like to use this service, please speak to your hospital pharmacy team.

Last updated: October 2023

Contact us

For more information, please contact us.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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