Community pharmacists like GPs, nurses, dentists and other healthcare professionals, are part of the NHS family. Every day about 1.6 million people visit a pharmacy in England.
Community pharmacies range from large chain stores, often on the high street or in supermarkets to smaller independently owned pharmacies often serving smaller or more rural communities. Many Pharmacies are open long hours offering healthcare advice, without the need for an appointment, when other health care professionals are unavailable.
The traditional role of the community pharmacist as the healthcare professional who dispenses prescriptions written by doctors has changed. In recent years community pharmacists have been developing clinical services in addition to the traditional dispensing role to allow better integration and team working with the rest of the NHS.
- Find a Pharmacy near you (nhs.uk)
Out of Hours Medicines and Prescriptions
If you run out of medicine or your prescription outside of your GP surgery's normal opening hours and need some urgently even if you're away from home go to the Out of Hours Medicines page of the nhs.uk website.
Why should you seek the help of a Pharmacist?
As qualified healthcare professionals, Pharmacists can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble, earache, cystitis, skin rashes, baby teething, red eye and aches and pains. They are also trained to provide health and wellbeing advice.
Pharmacists undertake a four year Masters in Pharmacy degree course followed by a one year placement working in a pharmacy under the supervision of an experienced pharmacist. At the end of this year they take a professional examination and those who successfully complete the examination are able to register as a pharmacist.
Pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need if your symptoms suggest something more serious, for example, they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.
Most pharmacies have a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard.
What can pharmacists help with?
They are the right people to see for minor health concerns such as:
- Sore throats
- Coughs, colds and flu
- Tummy troubles
- Aches and pains
- Red eyes
- Sleeping problems
- Athlete's foot
- Mouth ulcers
- Constipation and diarrhoea
You can talk to the pharmacist or pharmacy technician in your local pharmacy. Most people live within easy reach of one, and with many now offering longer open hours, it's easier to get the help and advice you need, without having to book an appointment.
Pharmacists and their teams are an essential part of the NHS and need your help and support during the coronavirus pandemic.
Always treat staff with respect, they are doing their best to provide you with the medicines and advice you need.
Please remember to wash your hands regularly and to wear a face covering when visiting your local pharmacy.
What help and services do Pharmacies provide?
Community Pharmacies provide a range of services and help ranging from:
- A Repeat Dispensing Service. This service allows you to collect your regular repeat prescription medicines direct from your local pharmacy for an agreed period of time, without having to go back to your GP. You will need to give your permission to your GP for him/her to share information with your chosen pharmacist. When you need your prescription, instead of requesting it from your GP, you will be able to get your medicines directly from your local pharmacy.
- Medicines Use Reviews* (MURs). An MUR is a consultation between the pharmacist and a patient that lasts approximately 10-20 minutes. It provides an opportunity for the patient to discuss how they use their medicines and to find out more about them; and the service is designed to supplement (and not replace) the more in depth clinical reviews that are conducted at GP practices. * This service is being replaced Apr 21 with the roll out of the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service
- New Medicine Service (NMS). The service is for people who have received their first prescription for a medicine to treat any of the following conditions:
- lung conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- conditions where you take a medicine to control the way your blood clots.
- Disposal of Unwanted Medicines. If you have any medicines that you no longer use, you can take them to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
- Other services. that may be available at your local pharmacy:
- you may be referred to a pharmacy for advice after calling NHS 111
- emergency contraception
- asthma inhaler use and advice
- chlamydia screening and treatment
- stop smoking service
- blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar testing
- substance misuse service, including needle and syringe exchange schemes
- weight management service
- flu vaccination
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Yellow Card Scheme
- How to report medication side effects (YouTube video)