Information Prescriptions

What is an Information Prescription or IP?

'Information Prescription' simply means the information that a healthcare professional thinks would be relevant and helpful to you at that point in time.  It describes the process they will go through to ensure you receive the best information about your condition, treatment options and support available to you.

What is that process?

Your healthcare professional will discuss your issues and concerns with you.  These may be about your diagnosis, your treatment options, the treatment itself, and also things like finances, talking to people about your illness, or holiday insurance. 

Your healthcare professional will then be able to provide you with information that will help you understand these areas.  This is always free of charge.  You can take as much or as little information as you want at that time, and read it at your leisure.  Then on your next visit to the healthcare professional you can discuss anything you have read which you don't understand, or discuss other things which you have concerns about.

Who is entitled to an Information Prescription?

The government has introduced information prescriptions for all people with long term conditions and their carers.  A long term condtion is one you have to live with over a long period of time, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  All cancer patients are entitled to an information prescription.  A new system for delivering this is being introduced so some places may not use the term 'information prescription' yet.  However, you should still be offered any information you need, as and when you need it at no cost to you.  It is anticipated that the new system will be in place in all hospitals in England by the end of 2013.

Who can give me an Information Prescription?

Any healthcare professional can give you information to help you further understand your discussions with them.  This may be a nurse, doctor, radiographer for example.  You can also get further information from a cancer information centre such as Weston Park Cancer Information and Support Centre.  Some social care professionals may also give information prescriptions.

You can look for information yourself at a library or on the internet.  The information prescription service on NHS Choices ( can be used by you at anytime.

When can I get an Information Prescription?

You can get an information prescription at anytime.  You may want lots of information or a very small amount at first, and then more later.

Do I have to have one?

No, this is your choice.  If you do not want information at any point you can say no.  If you change your mind later you can get information then.  You should be offered information whenever it is relevant, or whenever you need it.

How will I receive the Information Prescription?

Information can be given in several different ways:

  • You may be given printed information at the time of your appointment.
  • You may have that information posted to your home.
  • With your permission, the information may be emailed to you.  This link will be private but you can choose to share it with your friends and family.
  • You may be given a ticklist of information by your healthcare professional to take to a nearby information centre such as Weston Park Cancer Information and Support Centre. The information centre will then give you the information.
  • How you receive it will depend on you preference and the facilities available locally.

For more information please talk to your healthcare professional.

What are we doing at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals?

As a trust we take seriously the provision of good quality information to patients and carers.  With that in mind we were successful in our application to become a Beacon Site for implementing information prescriptions. 

IPs are now being rolled out across the country with us and 14 other hospital trusts selected as Beacon Sites to first begin issuing IPs to cancer patients. All other trusts in England are expected to follow on over the next 2 years.

The project is being supported nationally by Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Action Team.

We are currently trialling the implementation of IPs with skin cancer patients and those with bowel cancer.  If you are patient in any of these areas please ask your healthcare professional for more details.


Additional Information

Rate this page: