Skip to content Back to top

Think Pharmacy First

Pharmacy First makes it more convenient for you to access care. Your local pharmacy team can give you advice on a range of conditions and can suggest medicines that can help. They may also be able to offer treatment and prescription medicine for some conditions without the need for a GP appointment.

Conditions treated as part of Pharmacy First:

  • earache (aged 1 to 17 years)
  • impetigo (aged 1 year and over)
  • infected insect bites (aged 1 year and over)
  • shingles (aged 18 years and over)
  • sinusitis (aged 12 years and over)
  • sore throat (aged 5 years and over)
  • urinary tract infections or UTIs (women aged 16 to 64 years)

The pharmacist will assess you and you will be given either advice, treatment (if clinically appropriate) or refer you to a GP or other healthcare professional if needed.

If you are not within the age ranges (described above), a pharmacist can still offer advice, but you may need to see a GP for treatment.

Visit NHS England’s website for more information about NHS Pharmacy services.

We have a number of videos about Pharmacy First that can be watched on our YouTube channel.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Going to your local pharmacy offers an easy and convenient way to get clinical advice for your minor health concerns. You don’t need an appointment and you can be seen in a private consultation room.

Pharmacists have the right clinical training to make sure you get the help you need. If your condition is more serious, they will refer you to your GP, Emergency Department or other relevant local service.

Pharmacy First is funded by the NHS. The consultations themselves are free of charge. If you are supplied with medication, normal prescription charges apply. If you are exempt from paying NHS prescription charges, there is no charge for the medication.

Advice on medicines

Pharmacists can give advice on your medicines. This includes how to use your medicine, worries about side effects or any other questions you have.

Disposing of old medicines

If your medicine is out of date or unwanted, do not put it in the bin or flush it down the toilet. Take it to your pharmacy to be disposed of safely.

Help with new medicines

You can have 3 appointments with a pharmacist when you start a new medicine for a long-term condition, to help with any questions. Find out more on getting help with newly prescribed medicines  

Contraception services

Some pharmacies can offer the emergency contraceptive pill (‘morning after pill’) for free; if you’re aged 16 or over you can also buy it from most pharmacies. Some pharmacies also provide the oral contraception pill without the need to visit a GP.  Find a pharmacy.

Get a free blood pressure check

Some pharmacies offer a free blood pressure check. Find a pharmacy that offers free blood pressure checks

Other services

Other services that may be available at a local pharmacy include: 

  • advice from a pharmacist after contacting NHS 111 or a GP 
  • advice and help on how to stop smoking 
  • the substance misuse service, including needle and syringe exchange schemes 
  • advice and help on how to manage your weight 

 Please ask your local pharmacist to find out what services they offer. 

Don’t wait for minor health concerns to get worse – think pharmacy first and get seen by your local community pharmacy team.

More than 10,000 pharmacies across the UK are part of the scheme. Generally, you can just walk in to your closest or preferred one and ask for an appointment – or they will see you straight away if there is availability.

You may also be referred to a pharmacy appointment from:

  • NHS 111
  • Integrated urgent care clinical assessment services
  • Urgent treatment care
  • A&E
  • 999
  • Your GP
Launch Recite Me assistive technology