Pharmacy First Scheme Goes Live

Posted by: philheiden - Posted on:

Starting from January 31st 2024, NHS England has launched a new scheme to help ease the pressure on UK General Practice.  It is called “Pharmacy First”, encouraging eligible patients to utilise community pharmacy services for timely and effective care for minor illness.  This ties in with the wider NHS philosophy of “Right patient, Right place, Right time”.

You will now be able to get assessment and treatment for 7 common conditions from your pharmacy without the need to contact the surgery first. Certain age restrictions apply.

Medical ProblemAge range
Sore throat5 years and over
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)Women 16-64 years
Ear ache/pain (Acute Otitis Media)1 to 17 years
Infected insect bites1 year and over
Impetigo1 year and over
Shingles       18 years and over
Sinusitis12 years and over

The Pharmacy First service operates as a walk-in service, but you can/may also be referred into via other services including:

  • NHS 111 (online, telephone, and NHS App)
  • Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Services
  • Urgent Treatment Centres
  • Emergency Departments
  • 999
  • General Practice (GP)

The Pharmacy First Service empowers community pharmacists to manage patient care without the need for a General Practice visit. This coupled with expanded pharmacy services like blood pressure checking and contraception services, is projected to save up to 10 million General Practice appointments annually.

Patients can now access quick and convenient pharmacy care, including the supply of appropriate medicines including antibiotics for minor illnesses. Pharmacists are trained to gather medical histories, assess, diagnose, and treat patients. If your symptom or condition is more complex, the Pharmacist will guide you to the most appropriate next service (GP, Emergency Department, 999 etc.).

For more information about the service please visit

By choosing the right service and using Pharmacy First where we can for minor ailments, we can all help to ease the pressure on the wider NHS and keep the waiting times down for GP appointments.

Thank you,

Team AMC