How Does Pharmacy First Work?

Pharmacy First is an NHS-funded service.

What is Pharmacy First?

Pharmacy First is a collection of services that Pharmacies and Pharmacists are able to offer their patients.

NHS 111, A&E departments and your GP can make referrals to Pharmacies for consultations about minor ailments and illnesses.

NHS 111 can also make referrals to Pharmacies for patients who need urgent supplies of prescribed medicines.

These services have been available since 2019.

From 31 January 2024, the service has been expanded to allow Pharmacists to provide consultation and treatment, where appropriate, for the seven common conditions detailed below. You can visit a Pharmacy for consultations about these conditions without a referral.

What are the seven common conditions Peak Pharmacy can treat?

The seven minor conditions we can treat are:

I have one of the common conditions – how can I have a consultation with my Peak Pharmacist?

Please contact your local Peak Pharmacy by calling in or by telephoning first. Consultations can be carried out in person or via an online consultation, but cannot be conducted over the telephone.

A member of the Pharmacy team may ask you some questions first to check if your symptoms are ones that our Pharmacist can offer treatment and advice for. Similarly, if you pop in to ask for advice the member of staff attending to you may identify our Pharmacist can assist with your symptoms.

If the Pharmacist is able to see you straightaway, they will do so. At busy times you may be asked to return later, or be given an appointment time that suits you.

Do I need to bring anything with me?

No – just bring yourself or whoever has the symptoms.

The only exception to this is if you have a urinary tract infection. In this case it is helpful if you can bring a small urine sample in a clear bottle.

Where will the consultation take place?

All our Pharmacies have consultation rooms where patients can speak to our Pharmacists in private.

If you wish to have someone with you during the consultation, please discuss this with our Pharmacist. This could be someone you bring with you or a member of the Pharmacy team.

What will happen during the consultation with my Peak Pharmacist?

Our Pharmacist will discuss your symptoms with you – what your symptoms are, how severe they are and how long you have had them. They will ask you about any medication you are taking, your medical history and any other relevant information needed to help them advise you about the most appropriate treatment.

If you have earache, our Pharmacist will need to take a look in your ears with an otoscope.

If you have a sore throat, our Pharmacist will need to look down your throat using a tongue depressor and a small light. Our Pharmacist may ask to feel your neck too.

If you have a rash or an insect bite, our Pharmacist will need to look at it.

Our Pharmacist may take your temperature with an ear thermometer.

What happens at the end of the consultation?

If our Pharmacist identifies you need urgent medical attention or treatment that they cannot provide themselves, they will refer you to your GP, A&E or another healthcare provider, as appropriate.

If our Pharmacist is able to offer you treatment through the Pharmacy First service, they will discuss the options with you and advise you of the most suitable treatment for you.

If you are not within the age range we are able to supply treatment for, our Pharmacist will refer you to another healthcare professional.

Our Pharmacist will also give you general advice and/or suggest treatments you can buy over the counter if appropriate.

Do I have to pay for this service?

Pharmacy First is funded by the NHS. The consultations themselves are free of charge.

If you are supplied with medication, normal prescription charges apply. If you are exempt from paying NHS prescription charges there is no charge for the medication. You will be asked to complete a prescription exemption declaration in the same way you would for any other prescription.

Will my GP be informed about my consultation with my Peak Pharmacist?

Yes. A clinical record of your consultation will be made while our Pharmacist talks to you. This will be sent to your GP so it can be reviewed and added to your medical records.

What if my symptoms get worse?

As part of your consultation, your Peak Pharmacist will advise you about the action you should take if your symptoms worsen. This might be to come back to the Pharmacy again, to see your GP or to go to A&E.

We also offer an Online Consultation Service for some of these conditions. To book your online appointment, visit the condition page and click "Book An Online Consultation".