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 prescription medicines.

Coronavirus symptoms?

  • If you have coronavirus symptoms and need medical help for any reason, please do not go to a pharmacy. If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste), use the NHS 111 online service.

Emergency supply service

Community pharmacists can arrange an emergency supply of 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 minor ailment scheme

Some pharmacies run a minor ailment scheme that deals with specific common health problems. When pharmacies provide medicines as part of a minor ailment scheme, you get the medicines on the NHS. Please ask pharmacy staff for more information.

Treatment for children:

  • conjunctivitis (children aged 1 to 2 years)
  • impetigo, a skin infection
  • insect bites
  • mild skin conditions

Treatment for adults:

  • cystitis (women only, aged 16 to 65)
  • impetigo, a skin infection
  • insect bites
  • migraine
  • mild skin conditions
  • 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.

Help with prescriptions during COVID-19

Please order your prescriptions from your GP as normal either electronically or via telephone. There is no need to stockpile. You can also order repeat prescriptions using the NHS App.

Volunteer Cornwall can help with collecting medical prescriptions. Contact Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email the request for help team.

If you have a complex need or medical question, contact the Government’s helpline on 0800 028 8327 or your GP.

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, 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

Only ordering what you need will save money for the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and reduce the risk of you or others taking unnecessary medicines.

Wasted medicines cost money whether you pay for them or not.

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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