Pharmacy First

Get advice and purchase medicines from community pharmacies rather than getting a prescription.

Visit your Pharmacy First for minor illnesses

We are encouraging local people to visit their ‘pharmacy first’ for minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, hay fever and indigestion.

A fifth of GP appointments are taken up by minor illnesses which could be better dealt with in other settings, such as pharmacies or by the individual caring for themselves.

 The cost to the NHS locally of the prescribing of ‘over the counter’ medicines is around £4 million, part of which could be saved to fund the treatment of other conditions.

Medicines for minor illnesses can be purchased from community pharmacies, many of which are open during evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

How can my pharmacist help?

Local pharmacists can give you professional, expert advice on the self care of common conditions and can recommend over the counter medicines that can help, if needed. 

If your condition needs the attention of a GP or another healthcare professional, the pharmacist will recognise this and advise you to see your GP or the most appropriate  healthcare professional. 

Many pharmacies are open during evenings and weekends so you can see your local pharmacist anytime. Just walk in, you don’t need an appointment. 

Find your local pharmacy

How can I self-care?

Many common conditions can be treated at home with the support of your local pharmacy if needed. Over the counter products for self care are things like pain relief, hay fever medication and cough and cold remedies. These items can be bought from pharmacies and supermarkets without a prescription. They are also often cheaper this way. You can get them without an appointment or seeing a doctor.

An important part of self-care is having making sure you are equipped to look after you and your family. You can do this by ensuring you have a medicine cabinet full-stocked with essential medicines and products.

What do I need in my medicine cabinet?

To support self care at home, keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet with essential medicines and products such as: 

  • Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen 
  • Antihistamines 
  • Anti-diarrhoeal medicine 
  • Oral rehydration salts 
  • Indigestion treatment 
  • First aid kit including plasters, bandages and a thermometer 

Visit the NHS website for a full medicine cabinet list.

Don’t keep or use medicines after their expiry date. Take them to your local community pharmacy where they can be disposed of safely. 


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