Pharmacy First

Could you see a pharmacist instead?

If you have visited the practice in recent weeks, you may have noticed the posters for Pharmacy First, a new scheme designed to identify patients who may not need to wait for a GP appointment, and would be better seeking immediate treatment from a Pharmacist.

Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines, and study for five years before they qualify. They are skilled individuals who are able to diagnose and treat minor illnesses and they are also able to identify when you may need so see a GP. Pharmacy First is designed for patients who may be better off seeking advice from a pharmacist, rather than waiting for a GP appointment that could prove unnecessary.

How does it work?

To qualify for the pharmacy first scheme, you must meet a list of set criteria, and have one of a specified list of minor ailments. There are always exceptions to the rule however, for example, a mild headache may not necessarily require a GP appointment and could be passed onto the Pharmacist, however an extremely severe headache could be a sign of something more serious so it is important to think about this when considering Pharmacy first.
Please note that cough medicine will not be given under the Pharmacy First scheme as there is little evidence to suggest that it is an effective treatment.


In order to be eligible for Pharmacy First, patients must meet all of the following criteria:
1. Patients must currently have one of the minor ailments listed below, however if have one of the listed exclusions for the condition they should be offered a GP appointment instead
2. Patients must be exempt from prescription charges
3. Patients must be able to attend the pharmacy in person. Those under 16 must attend accompanied by a parent or guardian

Conditions covered by Pharmacy First

Not all minor ailments are covered by the Pharmacy First scheme, and it is important to remember that there are exceptions to all of the conditions that are included, these exceptions are referred to as exclusions. For example, as you will see from the table below, Athletes Foot is covered by the scheme, unless the patient is diabetic, has a secondary infection or has a severe case of the condition. It is really important to think about the severity of your condition when considering Pharmacy First as it will not be the right option for everyone.

Minor Ailments Included in the Scheme (and Common Exclusions)
Please note that conjunctivitis, red eye, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation and rash are NOT included within Pharmacy First.

Conditions covered by Pharmacy First Exclusions – Patients with an exclusion to be offered a GP appointment
Athletes Foot

Diabetic patients

Severe athletes foot

Secondary infection

Blocked Nose/Nasal Congestion Recurrent nose bleeds

Children under 3 months old

Very High Temperature (fever) of 39°C (102.2°F) or above

No medication will be supplied for a cough
Asthmatics with a wheeze
Chronic BronchitisDifficulty in breathing

Blood (rusty red in colour) in sputum

Cough lasting more than 3 weeks


Children under 3 months old

Earache lasting more than 24 hours despite pain relief

Earache lasting more than 48 hours

Hay Fever

Patients under 2 years old

Patients who are pregnant

Patients with a repeat prescription for hay fever medications


Children under 3 months

Recent head injury within the last 14 days

Slurred speech or confusion in patient

Sprains and Strains

Severe pain

Pain with no obvious cause

Sore Throat

Sore throat lasting more than one week

Patients unable to swallow

Teething Children under 3 months old
Temperature/Fever Children under 3 months old
Temperature associated with rash (unless mild)Patient with confusion or repeated vomiting

Very High Temperature (fever) of 39°C (102.2°F)


Patients with epilepsy

Patients who are pregnant

Children under 2 years old

Vaginal/Penile Thrush

Patients under 16 years old

Patients over 60 years old

Patients who are pregnant

Diabetic patients

Patients who have not previously had thrush, e.g. their first infection