Telehealth Prescribing FAQs

Many doctors across ACT offer telehealth appointments which take place either online or over the phone.

If you have a telehealth appointment, your doctor can still prescribe your medications for you. Instead of giving you a paper prescription, and they can send your prescription directly to a pharmacy of your choice. You, a family member, a friend or a carer can then pick-up your medications and any repeats from the pharmacy or use their home delivery service (if available).

Soon your doctor may also be able to give you an electronic prescription using a barcode that you can take to your pharmacy to collect your medications. More information about this is coming soon.

I’m in isolation but need to see my doctor. What should I do?

Many doctors now offer telehealth services. A telehealth appointment is like a normal appointment, but it takes place online or over the phone. And it means you don’t have to leave your home. Call your doctor to find out if they offer telehealth services.

How do I get a prescription if I have a telehealth appointment?

Your doctor will send (text message, email or fax) your prescriptions to a pharmacy of your choice where you, a family member, a friend or a carer can either pick up your medication or arrange for home delivery (if available).

What about prescription repeats?

If your prescription includes repeats you will need to have all future repeats dispensed from the same pharmacy that dispensed your  first supply. Under Australian Government legislation, pharmacists must keep the original and all repeats at the pharmacy for future dispensing if it is a digital image (text or emailed) or faxed prescription. You should contact your pharmacy when you need to have your next repeat so they can dispense it for you.

Who sends the prescription to the pharmacy?

Your doctor’s practice will send the prescription directly to the pharmacy of your choice via email, fax or text message.

Why can’t my doctor send the prescription to me?

Under Australian Government legislation your doctor or GP is not able to send your prescription directly to you via email or text message. This is to minimise the risks of patients trying to have prescriptions dispensed from multiple pharmacies.

What if I don’t know which pharmacy to send the prescription to?

Your doctor may be able to suggest a local pharmacy or you can look up pharmacies in your area using the HealthDirect website www.healthdirect.gov.au.

What if the pharmacy my doctor sends the prescription to doesn’t have any stock of the medication?

If your pharmacy has temporarily run out of your medication they may be able to offer an alternative or will discuss options with you.
There are no confirmed shortages of medications in Australia at this time as a direct result of COVID-19, however individual pharmacies may experience low stock of some medications from time to time.

Can I still see my doctor for a face-to-face appointment?

Yes, when you ring your doctor you can ask for a face-to-face appointment. If you have a face-to-face appointment, the way you get a prescription from you doctor has not changed.

Can I still get a paper prescription?

Yes. Doctors are still able to give you a paper prescription during a face-to-face appointment. They can also issue you a paper prescription following a telehealth consultation, however, you will need to arrange to either collect this from the practice or have it posted to you. They will be unable to give you the paper prescription if it has already been sent to your pharmacy.

How do I know if a pharmacy does home delivery?

Most pharmacies in the ACT offer home delivery services to assist vulnerable people in the community. You can contact your preferred pharmacy to ask if they do home delivery. You can also check the HealthDirect website www.healthdirect.gov.au for this information.

Your pharmacist may wish to contact you to provide advice about your medications. You should also contact them if you have any questions about your medications including side effects or how to take them properly.

Which medications can I get prescribed?

In the ACT, any medication can be prescribed via telehealth. However, in NSW there are restrictions which apply to schedule 8 (controlled) medications such as strong pain killers or stimulants and schedule 4 Appendix D medications (including some pain killers, sleeping aids and anabolic steroids). If you have any questions about this or want to find out more, please speak to your doctor or GP.

Page last updated on: 21 May 2020