Pharmacy First

Community pharmacies have been working incredibly hard to get ready for the launch of Pharmacy First. The service marks a stepchange for pharmacies, patients and the public, and one that we hope to build on for the future. By choosing to go to ‘Pharmacy First’ for the seven common conditions, people can get help faster, freeing up GP appointments for those who really need them.

We strongly encourage the public to make full use of this service for convenient, easy access to healthcare advice, support and appropriate treatments from expert pharmacists and their teams.

From 31st January 2024, most pharmacies (over 95% have signed up to provide the
service) can now help people with seven common conditions which would previously
have required a GP appointment.

The conditions (and eligibility for using this service) are:

  1. Sinusitis (adults and children agreed 12 years and over)
  2. Sore throat (adults and children aged 5 years and over)
  3. Earache (children and young adults aged 1 year to 17 years)
  4. Infected insect bite (children and adults aged 1 year and over)
  5. Impetigo (adults and children aged 1 year and over)
  6. Shingles (adults aged 18 years and over)
  7. Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (women, aged 16 to 64 years)

If you have symptoms that suggest you may have one of these conditions, you can
now walk into a pharmacy and be offered a consultation with the pharmacist.

Under the new service, pharmacists can provide advice and, if clinically necessary, will
offer an NHS medicine to treat it (NHS prescription charges apply if you normally pay
for medicines supplied on prescription).

Should the pharmacy team be unable to help, you will be directed to your GP surgery
or A&E as appropriate.

By thinking ‘Pharmacy First’, people will find it easier and quicker to get the help they
need and bypass the 8am rush to book an appointment with their GP.

ConditionInclusion CriteriaExclusion Criteria
Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)Women aged 16-64 with suspected UTIsPregnant, Urinary Catheter, Recurrent UTI (2 episodes in last 6 months, or 3 episodes in last 12 months)
ShinglesAdults aged 18 and overPregnant
ImpetigoFor Adults and Children aged 1 year and overBullous Impetigo, Recurrent Impetigo (Defined as 2 or more episodes in the same year), pregnant and under 16 years
Infected Insect BitesFor Adults and Children aged 1 year and overPregnant and under 16 years
Acute Sore ThroatFor Adults and Children aged 5 years and overPregnant and under 16 years
Acute SinusitisFor Adults and Children aged 12 years and overImmunosuppressed individuals, Chronic sinusitis (sinusitis that causes symptoms that last for more than 12 weeks) Pregnant and under 16 years
Acute Otitis Media (an infection of the middle ear that causes inflammation (redness and swelling) and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum)For Children aged 1-17 years only (No adults)Recurrent acute Otitis Media (3 or more episodes in 6 months or 4 or more episodes in 12 months) Pregnant and under 16 years