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How pharmacies can help

Advice and treatment

Pharmacists can give you advice on a range of conditions and suggest medicines that can help.

They may also be able to offer treatment and prescription medicine for some conditions, without you needing to see a GP (this is called Pharmacy First). Conditions they can treat as part of Pharmacy First are:

  • 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)

If you go to a pharmacy with one of these conditions, the pharmacist will offer you advice, treatment or refer you to a GP or other healthcare professional if needed.

They will then update your GP health record.

If you are not within these age ranges, a pharmacist can still offer advice, but you may need to see a GP for treatment.

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If your medicine is out of date or unwanted, do not put it in the bin or flush it down the toilet.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.

Get help with newly prescribed medicines

Emergency contraception

Some pharmacies offer the emergency contraceptive pill for free. If you’re aged 16 or over, you can also buy it from most pharmacies.

Find out about emergency contraception

Get a free blood pressure check

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

More services

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

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

Ask a local pharmacist to find out what services they offer.

Page last reviewed: 22 January 2024
Next review due: 22 January 2027