Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with NHS prescriptions as well as support for minor health concerns.
Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals and have trained for five years. They can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter 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.
All pharmacists train for five years in the use of medicines. They are also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice.
Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment.
Most pharmacies have a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard.
In some cases if you contact your GP practice with a minor illness that can be assessed and treated more quickly by a local pharmacist (with your consent) they will send an electronic referral to the community pharmacy of your choice for a same day consultation.
Coronavirus is currently affecting the way some pharmacists operate and you can find out more here.
Pharmacy and medicines
Pharmacists can answer your questions on prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
All pharmacies provide the following services:
- 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- disposal of unwanted or out-of-date medicines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