Pharmacy First Scheme

What is Pharmacy First?

Patients can now get prescription-only treatment for seven common conditions at their local pharmacy, without needing to see a GP. 

This can include prescribing and supplying antibiotics and antivirals where clinically appropriate. 

What conditions can be treated at my pharmacy?

Your local pharmacy can now supply prescription-only treatment, if they believe you need it, for the following conditions: 

How does it work?

If you are feeling unwell with any of these conditions, you can go to your local participating pharmacy and ask for a private consultation with the pharmacist. 

You may also be referred by the practice if no appointments are available and believe the pharmacy can help. The 111 helpline service may also refer you. Pharmacists can also offer this service on-the-spot if you go in asking generally for help.

What are the benefits of the scheme?

  • Participating pharmacies must offer the service during all their opening hours including any late nights or weekends.
  • It may be quicker to see your pharmacist than waiting for an appointment with your GP.
  • Pharmacy First – along with expanded Blood Pressure Check  and Oral Contraception services at pharmacies – could free up to 10 million GP appointments a year. 

How can my pharmacist supply a prescription-only medicine if they are not a doctor?

Pharmacists must follow a strict NHS protocol covering their own required knowledge and skills the types of patients covered. 

This means that the supply of prescription-only medicines will be limited in all cases by age groups, and in one case, by gender.

Will I have to pay for my advice or medication?

The appointment and advice from a pharmacist are free to access. 

If you are recommended an over-the-counter medication, you will pay the costs of buying this. 

If you are supplied with a prescription-only medication, usual prescription charges would apply unless you qualify for free prescriptions.