Pharmacy First

What is Pharmacy First?

The Pharmacy First scheme provides professional health care advice, treatments, and medicines for common illnesses from your local pharmacy, without the need for an appointment.


  • Pharmacists are highly qualified health care professionals who are experts in medicines. They can give the same advice and treatment for common illnesses as the GP.
  • Pharmacies are open during normal business hours and many are open late, on Saturdays and on Sundays.
  • It may be quicker to see your pharmacist than wait for a GP appointment
  • You don’t need an appointment
  • Medicines offered are free of charge if you are normally exempt from prescription charges. If you usually pay for prescription charges, you can still receive advice and can pay the cost of any medicine issued or the standard prescription charge, whatever is cheaper.
  • Anything you say to the pharmacist is treated with confidence

How Does it Work?

If you are feeling unwell and may have any of the common illnesses listed below, you can access Pharmacy First in two ways:

You can present yourself to your local participating pharmacy. You will           be seen by a pharmacist and can ask for a private consultation

Your GP practice or health care services may signpost you to a participating pharmacy.

Your local participating pharmacist will explain the service to you and ask you for some details including your name, date of birth, postcode, and GP practice to register for the service.

If you choose not to register; you can still receive free confidential professional health care advice but will not be able to obtain any medication for free (if normally prescription charge exempt) or at a reduced price under the scheme.

Common Illnesses that are included?

• Aches and pains (sprains and strains)
• Athlete’s foot
• Bites
• Cold sores
• Conjunctivitis
• Constipation
• Contact dermatitis
• Coughs and colds
• Diarrhoea
• Ear wax
• Fever
• Hay fever
• Headache
• Head lice (nits)
• Heartburn
• Indigestion
• Itching (chicken pox)
• Minor burns and scalds
• Mouth ulcers
• Nappy rash
• Nasal congestion
• Nausea and Vomiting
• Sore throats
• Stings
• Teething
• Threadworms
• Thrush

Will I have to pay for my advice or medicine?

All advice is free and if your pharmacist believes the condition needs further review, they will recommend where to get more advice.

If you do not normally pay for prescription charges, any medicine recommended will be free.

If you usually pay for prescriptions, you will pay the cost of the medicine or the standard prescription charge, whatever is cheaper.

Will I always get medication?

On some occasions you may not need medication and will receive professional healthcare advice.

If the pharmacist feels it is appropriate to signpost you elsewhere, they will highlight the most suitable service to you.

Medicines will ONLY be supplied when you have a current condition in need of treatment. Any medication supplied to you must only be used to treat yourself or a dependent.

Important information

If accessing the Pharmacy First Scheme you must tell your pharmacist if:

  • You are pregnant and/or breastfeeding
  • You think you might be pregnant
  • Other medications you are taking
  • Any allergies that you have

Please check with your local pharmacy to see if they are participating in the Pharmacy First scheme.