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Pharmacy First Launch

Pharmacy First is a new service provided by NHS England to help patients get access to the right care from the right person at the right time.

The service covers 7 common conditions that require advice and treatment.

Instead of having to go to your GP practice for this, which potentially could cause a delay in your treatment, you can go straight to a pharmacy offering Pharmacy First, or be referred by your GP Practice, NHS111 or another medical or emergency care setting.  

The seven common conditions are:  

Acute Otitis Media (ear infections) for patients aged 1 to 17 years 

Impetigo in patients aged 1 year and over 

Infected insect bites in patients aged 1 year and over  

Shingles in patients aged 8 years and over 

Sinusitis in patients aged 12 years and over  

Sore throat in patients aged 5 years and over  

Uncomplicated urinary tract infections women aged 16 – 64 years 

You can access the new service by walking into the pharmacy directly (self-referral), or where appropriate, by contacting them by video consultation. In addition, you will also be able to access the service through a referral from any of the following:  

·        General Practice

·        NHS App  

·        NHS 111 (online or telephone)

·        Urgent Treatment Centres 

·        Emergency Departments 

·        999 

·        Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Services 

GP referral for minor illnesses 

Pharmacy First also includes elements from the Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS). These elements enable you to have a consultation with a community pharmacist for minor conditions such as coughs and colds, itchy eyes, and earache.  For this service, staff here at the surgery will make the appointment for you with the community pharmacy, which will either be the same day or within 12 hours depending on the time you contact us. You can also be referred through NHS111 or another medical or emergency care setting, but you cannot self-refer. 

The benefits of the GP referral service for you: 

·         You will be referred by the practice and you can visit the pharmacy, or the pharmacist will contact you by phone for a confidential consultation.  

·         You can be seen more quickly as community pharmacies are usually open for longer and at weekends. 

·         The pharmacist will give you advice on how to treat your condition, which means you can start to recover more quickly.  

·         You can choose a pharmacy that is near your home or work – whichever is the most convenient for you.  

·         Depending on your condition the pharmacist may recommend over-the-counter medication which you can choose to purchase if you wish. Often, over-the-counter treatments are inexpensive and cheaper than prescription medication.  

·         If the pharmacist believes your symptoms suggest a more serious condition, they will help you arrange an urgent GP appointment or escalate to an urgent care setting.  

·         The pharmacist will make a record of the outcome of your consultation and will send this via secure digital messaging to your GP – so that your records are always up to date.  

To make sure your local pharmacy is providing Pharmacy First, or to find an alternative pharmacy near you, please use the service finder on NHS.UK website: 


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