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Consult with your local pharmacy

Getting the most from your pharmacist

Under the new NHS Pharmacy First scheme, you can visit a pharmacist to receive advice and treatment for some simple illnesses. Read here about what conditions you can now go directly to your pharmacist about and what you need to do. Should you speak to our receptionist or submit an online consultation for a condition that can be safely managed by our local community pharmacies we will advise and refer you where appropriate to do so.

What is pharmacy first?

The new Pharmacy First scheme means you can go and see a pharmacist about several minor illnesses and conditions you would previously have had to see your GP about. You can visit your pharmacist for a consultation and they will treat you and prescribe medication if necessary. If your condition is more serious you will be referred to a GP or hospital.

What conditions can you see your pharmacist about?

Under Pharmacy First, pharmacists can treat and prescribe medication for seven conditions. These are the conditions, and at what age, you can see the pharmacist about:

Anyone not within these age ranges should see a clinician at the practice. If your symptoms last for more than two weeks or do not get better you should see a clinician at the practice. You can complete an online consultation to book a swift appointment.

There are many existing conditions which you have already been able to see you pharmacist about. These include:

  • Aches and pains – such as, back pain, headache and period pain.
  • Accidents – such as, sprains, minor cuts, and grazes
  • Colds, flu and other infections – such as, cough, congestion, fevers and/or temperature.
  • Ear care – such as, ear wax.
  • Eye care – such as, conjunctivitis, styes.
  • Hay fever – which is not controlled by standard over-the-counter treatments.
  • Rashes.
  • Skin problems – such as, athlete’s foot, cold sores, or mild eczema or psoriasis.
  • Stomach aches – such as, constipation, diarrhoea, or indigestion.

How to see your pharmacist

To find out your nearest pharmacy and check if it is part of the scheme go to NHS pharmacy finder or just walk in. Generally, you can just walk in to your closest or preferred one and ask for an appointment – or they will see you straightaway if there is availability. If you’d prefer, you can call and ask for a video consultation with the pharmacist.

You may also be referred to a pharmacy appointment from:

  • NHS 111 – online, telephone and the NHS App.
  • Integrated urgent care clinical assessment services.
  • Urgent treatment centres.
  • A&E.
  • 999.
  • Your GP.

What will happen at your pharmacist appointment

Your consultation with the pharmacist will always be confidential and in a private place. The pharmacist will ask you questions about your health – they may need to know about your previous medical history, any allergies, any medicines you are taking, and the symptoms you are experiencing. They will ask you before checking any medical records.

For some conditions, the pharmacist may ask to have a look at what is wrong – for instance, if you have an earache, they may use an otoscope to look into your ear. The pharmacist will not use diagnostic tests to check for specific conditions – such as checking a pee sample for a urine infection or swabbing your sore throat. To find out your nearest pharmacy and check if it is part of the scheme go to NHS pharmacy finder or just walk in.

The pharmacist will recommend the best course of action to treat your condition – this could be that your illness is best to run its course, they may prescribe medication such as antibiotics, or if your condition is more severe they may refer you to another health service or professional.

The notes of your consultation will be added to your medical records.

What else can you see a pharmacist about

As well as the new conditions covered under Pharmacy First and other minor illnesses, there are many other issues and topics your pharmacist will be able to help you with, these include:

If your symptoms are severe and you are worried, call 999 or go to your local A&E.