Dear Patient

You have been identified as having a low level of a vitamin in the blood called folate (also known as folic acid), which was picked up on your latest blood test. Deficiency in this vitamin can sometimes lead to anaemia and so it is important that we arrange treatment for you.

The treatment is very simple and involves a once daily tablet of folic acid (5mg) for a total of four months. We will arrange for the prescription to be sent to your allocated pharmacy and will add the tablet to your list of repeat prescriptions. It is important that you request your repeat prescription so that you complete a total of four months treatment, as you will not receive all four months’ worth of tablets at once.

In four months’ time, one of our receptionists will contact you to arrange a follow up blood test. If the results show that your levels have returned to normal, then we will inform you that you can stop taking the tablets. If the levels are still low, then the results will be passed on to one of our GPs for review and you will be contacted with the outcome. In the unlikely event you have not been contacted within two weeks of your blood test, then please telephone the surgery to discuss this with one of our reception team who will check whether your results have been received.

Actions you need to take:

  1. Please collect your prescription of folic acid tablets from your usual pharmacy and start taking them. If you are uncertain which pharmacy you are allocated to, please contact our reception team who will be happy to help.
  2. Please ensure you request your repeat prescriptions regularly so that you complete the four months treatment without any breaks.
  3. Please consider increasing the amount of folate you consume in your diet as this will help prevent further episodes of deficiency. Good sources of folate include broccoli, brown rice, peas, asparagus, chickpeas and Brussels sprouts.
  4. Please note that folate deficiency is a common and simple vitamin deficiency, and therefore most patients will not need to discuss this with a GP. If you do wish to speak to someone, then please ask reception to book a routine telephone appointment with Mr Shafiq Mohamedtaqi (Clinical Pharmacist at Highcliffe Medical Centre) who manages all our folate deficiency patients.

If you would like to read any further information, then please look on the NHS website which has an excellent section on folate deficiency.