Practice News Feed

Pharmacy Poster
23rd Feb

Pharmacy First

Pharmacy First will enable community pharmacists to supply prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals where clinically appropriate, to treat seven common health conditions without the need to visit a GP.

What are the seven common conditions?

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Earache
  • Infected insect bite
  • Impetigo (a bacterial skin infection)
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women.

How can I access treatment from my pharmacy?

You can get treatment for these conditions by walking into the pharmacy or contacting them virtually. GP receptionists, NHS 111 and providers of emergency care will also be able to direct patients to pharmacies, that offer the service, if contacted.

What will happen when I arrive at the pharmacy?

The pharmacist will be able to speak to you privately in a separate consultation room. They may perform an examination or ask to access your medical records. The pharmacist will be able to recommend the best course of action on an individual patient basis, including by issuing prescriptions for antibiotics or antivirals where necessary.

How will this reduce NHS waiting times?

By reducing the number of patients with common conditions, needing blood pressure checks or oral contraception visiting a GP, Pharmacy First aims to free up 10 million GP appointments a year by next winter for more complex diagnosis

This will give GPs time and space to see patients with more complex conditions.

Four in five people in England can reach a community pharmacy within a 20-minute walk and there are twice as many pharmacies in the most deprived communities, making access to care quicker and more convenient.

How do I know if my local pharmacy is offering the service?

More than 10,000 pharmacies have already signed up to Pharmacy First – that’s over 95 per cent of all those in England.

Will I have to pay for my medication?

Usual prescription charges will apply for the seven common conditions. Patients that were already exempt from prescription charges will still be exempt.

What if I still want to see my GP?

Patients can still choose to visit a GP if they wish to. Pharmacy First offers alternative access for these seven conditions and we encourage people to make the most of this service and to consult the highly trained professions in their local pharmacy.

We are working to expand GP access, and have now delivered on our manifesto commitment for 50 million more general practice appointments per year. We are also growing the primary care workforce and we hit our target for 26,000 additional staff in primary care by March 2024 more than a year early.