Visit your pharmacy

Your local pharmacy can help with a range of minor common illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats, earache, cystitis (bladder infection), impetigo (skin infection) and emergency contraception. You can also get advice on prescriptions.

Emergency supply service

Community pharmacists can arrange an emergency supply of most medicines if you forget to renew your prescription or bring your repeat medication on holiday.

This service enables community pharmacies to supply regular repeat medication when your GP practice is unable to supply a prescription. The pharmacist will be able to tell you if they can make an emergency supply using this service and explain your other options if they cannot.

Please note that the emergency supply service is only available for UK registered patients. Controlled drugs like pregabalin and gabapentin are excluded from this service.

Visitors who have had a regular prescription issued by an EEA or Swiss prescriber may be able to obtain a private (chargeable) emergency supply.

Pharmacy First and minor ailment scheme

Many pharmacies offer the Pharmacy First service and a minor ailment scheme which deal with specific common health problems. Please ask pharmacy staff for more information.

Treatment for children:

  • conjunctivitis (children age 1 to 2 years)
  • impetigo, a skin infection
  • insect bites
  • mild skin conditions
  • sinusitis (age 12 years and over)
  • sore throat (age 5 years and over)

Treatment for adults:

  • urinary tract infection (UTI) or cystitis (women only, ages 16 to 64)
  • impetigo, a skin infection
  • insect bites
  • migraine
  • mild skin conditions
  • shingles (age 18 years and over)
  • sinusitis
  • sore throat
  • vaginal thrush

Prescription charges will apply. If you are exempt from prescription charges, for example if you are under 16 or over 60, or if you have a prescription prepayment certificate, you will not pay for the medicine.

Blood pressure check service

All adults over 40 years old are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every 5 years. Getting this done is easy and could save your life. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) rarely has noticeable symptoms, but if untreated it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

What else can a pharmacy offer?

Pharmacies offer a range of health services that you may not be aware of. For example, pharmacies promote health and wellbeing, and provide access to stopping smoking, sexual health and alcohol support services. Pharmacies may also provide a flu vaccination service, contraception service, chlamydia screening, pregnancy testing and NHS health checks. These services could save you a trip to your GP!

Think! before you request a repeat prescription

How you can help reduce medicine waste

  • When you collect your prescription, open the bag and check your medicines before you leave the pharmacy.
  • Hand back any medicines that you do not need at this time. You can always order more next time if you need them.
  • Do not be afraid to speak to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse about your medicines. They would rather know if you are having problems with them.

Remember, prescriptions ordered in haste, can cause waste.

Unwanted medicines that are returned to the pharmacy must be destroyed, even if they have not been opened and cannot be reused.

There is no need to order medicines just in case. If you run out of medicines, you simply need to visit your GP or local pharmacy. Pharmacies receive deliveries of medicines every day.

Like food, medicines go out of date. Never take a medicine which is past its use by date. Never dispose of your medicine in the bin, or down the toilet. Please return unused medicine to your dispensing GP or pharmacy.

Talk to your GP or pharmacist if you:

  • are not taking your medicines exactly as prescribed
  • are unsure how to take them properly
  • want to stop, or have already stopped taking a medicine on your prescription
  • are concerned about the side effects
  • are unsure why you are taking a medicine
  • feel any of your medicines are not working

Ask your GP or pharmacist for a medicines review if you are unsure or if you need help to take your medicines.

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