Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with NHS prescriptions as well as support and treatments for minor health concerns.

Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals and have trained for five years. They can offer clinical advice, over-the-counter medicines and some prescription medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.

If symptoms suggest it’s something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. For example they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.

Pharmacy first

Pharmacists may also be able to offer treatment for seven conditions, without you needing to see a GP. If you go to a pharmacy with one of these conditions, the pharmacist will offer you advice, treatment or refer you. They will then update your GP health record.

In some cases if you contact your GP practice with a minor illness that can be assessed and treated more quickly by a local community pharmacist (with your consent) they will send an electronic referral to the community pharmacy of your choice for a same day consultation.

How to find one

You can find a local pharmacy here. Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment. You can find out more about how they can help you here.

Pharmacy services

Pharmacists can answer your questions on prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

All pharmacies provide the following services:

  • Treatment for seven conditions without you needing to see a GP: earache, impetigo, infected insect bites, shingles, sinusitis, sore throat, urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • dispensing of NHS prescriptions
  • access to the repeat prescription service (with agreement from your GP)
  • an emergency supply of medicine, subject to the decision of the pharmacist (you may need to pay for an emergency supply)
  • emergency contraception
  • flu vaccinations
  • non-prescription medicines like paracetamol
  • disposal of unwanted or out-of-date medicines
  • advice on treating minor health concerns and healthy living

Pharmacy technicians can help with things like:

  • inhaler technique
  • how to take a medicine safely
  • helping you understand the correct dose of a new medicine and how often you need to take it