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Pharmacy First

Patients can now get treatment for seven common conditions directly from their local pharmacy, without the need for a GP appointment or prescription.

The Pharmacy First scheme was launched by the government and NHS England on 31 January 2024 to give patients quick and accessible care and ease pressure on GP services.

  • Sinusitis

  • Sore throat

  • Earache

  • Infected insect bite

  • Impetigo (a bacterial skin infection)

  • Shingles

  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women.

What are the seven common conditions?

Find out more about these conditions below.

FAQ's

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.

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

How can I access treatment from Putney Pharmacy?

Will I have to pay for my medication?

What will happen when I arrive at Putney 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 else are you expanding pharmaceutical services?

From December 2023, thousands of women have been able to get their contraceptive pill from their local pharmacy, with up to 25% of all women on oral contraception being able to benefit from this new service. Pharmacists are also increasing the number of life-saving blood pressure checks given to at-risk patients over the next year, with a commitment to deliver 2.5 million a year by spring 2025 - up from 900,000 carried out last year. It is estimated this could prevent more than 1,350 heart attacks and strokes in the first year.

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.

Will Pharmacy First have an impact on anti-microbial resistance?

Anti-microbial resistance occurs when the body’s microbes no longer respond to medicines due to over-usage, making infections harder to treat. This scheme is not expected to result in larger volumes of antibiotics being prescribed, and patients will still undergo a consultation with a pharmacist before any medicine is dispensed. Medicine supply must be clinically appropriate and only after a shared discussion between the patient and pharmacist on the risks and benefits of taking the medicine, and of any alternative self-care options.

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