HIV Pharmacy Team at Birmingham Heartlands HIV Service

There are currently four pharmacists who work in clinic (Amanda, Kate, Geri & Rosey), they look after the patients who are taking medication for HIV at Heartlands Hospital. Before starting medication you will automatically be booked a ‘START’ appointment. The first of these takes about an hour. This is an opportunity for patients to get a little more understanding about the types of medication available, how they will need to be taken and important things to consider before you start taking medication. This is also a chance to discuss any worries or problems a patient has related to medication.

Once you are started on medication every time you get a new prescription from the doctor you need to see a pharmacist in clinic before the pharmacy will dispense your medicines.  We will ask you about any new allergies/ other medication as it is important to keep this information up to date and we will check each time you visit if you are having any problems with or forgetting your tablets.

If you would like to make an appointment to see a pharmacist you can contact ID outpatients who will let you know the next available appointment. We are also available by phone between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. If we are not in clinic, reception may take a message and we will phone you back as soon as we are free.


Services we offer:

Help and advice

  • How to take your medication
  • How to store your medication
  • Methods of good adherence
  • Any other medication related issue
  • Advice on common side-effects and how to cope
  • Advice on late/missed doses
  • Adherence aids to help you to remember to take your medication
  • Supply and delivery of medication
  • Drug interactions advice including advice on; Chinese, herbal, over the counter and recreational medications

It is important that we have an up to date record of any new or additional medicines being taken.  Lots of antiviral medication is processed through the liver. This means that any other medication that is also processed through the liver can have an affect on the amount of antiviral medication in your body. If the amount of antiviral medication is increased then you may experience side-effects, if it is decreased there may be too little in your body, allowing the virus to multiply and may not be able to work against the virus again.

There is a website created by Liverpool University where you can check if common medication interacts, please go to If the combination comes up green then no interactions should occur. If the combination comes up red or amber, there may be a problem and advice should be sort from clinic pharmacists, or doctors before it is taken. Remember that herbal medicines are also processed through the liver and should be investigated for medication interactions.


Prescription Collection

  • Deliveries can be organised for all patients with postcodes within the delivery catchments area. 48 hours notice is required when booking a delivery and someone at home to receive the medicines. This can be either of two time periods during the day Monday to Friday, either between 11-4pm or 4pm-7.30pm or on a Saturday morning between 9-12pm. Unfortunately we can not give exact deliver times. Picture ID will be required by the driver, alternatively we can supply Boots identification cards.
  • For patients who do not want to collect their prescription on the same day they see a doctor in clinic, prescriptions can be collected at a later date with picture ID. Alternatively we can supply Boots identification cards so you can collect your medication at your convenience.
  • Patients are also able to collect their prescription from a local Boots instead of from the hospital pharmacy. This is possible if the particular Boots pharmacy participates in the scheme and your pharmacist can advice on the closest one to you. 48 hours notice is required so that this can be organised for you. Picture ID or a Boots identification card will be required on collection so the pharmacy staff know they are supplying the correct patient.
  • If you do not collect your prescription within 1 month the medicines will be returned.


Emergency Supply of Medication

  • It is important that you never run out of medicines.
  • If you are going to run out of medicines before your next doctors appointment we need a minimum of 2 days notice (3 days on a Friday) to organise another prescription. Contact ID outpatients (0121 4243359) and a pharmacist will phone you back to discuss.
  • If you have run out of medication and are going to be late/ miss a dose please contact ID outpatients during opening hours 9-5pm Monday to Friday.
  • If you have run of medication and are a Heartlands patient, Boots Pharmacy on the hospital site maybe able to supply you with an emergency supply until the department is open again between the times of 5-8pm or on Saturday 9-12pm. Please bring with you picture ID and your medication containers as proof of what you take. Please note that this is at the discretion of the pharmacist in charge.
  • If outside these times a prescription will be required from the hospital A&E department and then the on-call pharmacist will be contacted to supply. The on-call pharmacist will have to come in especially from home so please try and avoid this situation if at all possible but it is important no doses are missed.

Boots Pharmacy Opening Times

Monday           9am until 8pm

Tuesday           9am until 8pm

Wednesday      9am until 8pm

Thursday          9am until 8pm

Friday              9am until 8pm

Saturday           9am until 12am

(Phone 0121 4243448)

NB; if you are not waiting for your prescription, picture identification will be required or a Boots identification card


Missing/ late for a dose

If you do forget a dose, do not panic but take it as soon as you remember unless you are about to take your next dose. It is better to have slightly more medicine in your body than too little. Contact ID outpatients if you are still concerned and want to speak to a pharmacist. It is important not to miss several doses in a row, for example at weekends. Having a break of several days is more likely to create drug resistance and so the drugs will stop working for you. If you miss your medication on more than one occasion please make an appointment to see the pharmacist to discuss if we can help you.


We recommend that you take your medication at the same time each day but we still consider medicines to be taken on time if taken one hour either side of this time. Once daily medication should be taken every 24 hours and twice daily every 12 hours (e.g. 8am and 8pm)


All medication can have side-effects. Some patients experience side effects when they first start taking the medications but these often disappear quite quickly. If any side-effect continues we can often provide medication to treat the side-effect. If the side-effects are having an impact on your daily life then a doctor’s appointment can be made to look at options for changing medication.