Explore the Benefits of NHS Pharmacy First Services in The UK – A Comprehensive Guide

Explore the Benefits of NHS Pharmacy First Services in The UK – A Comprehensive Guide

20 / Feb

NHS England has introduced a new service called Pharmacy First to help with the growing pressures on healthcare. Now, patients can get treatment for seven common health issues from a pharmacy, without visiting a doctor or GP first.

Understanding Pharmacy First Service

The Pharmacy First Service is an initiative designed to make healthcare more accessible and efficient for the public. It allows patients to consult with community pharmacists for minor illnesses or conditions without the need for a GP appointment. Pharmacists, using their professional judgement, can provide advice, treatment, or refer the patient to a GP if necessary.

NHS England expected to save up to 10 million GPappointments per year and help patients with easy access to treatment by simply walking into the pharmacy or contacting them virtually. To date, over 10,000 pharmacies in England have already signed up for the service.

People can easily get pharmacy care for quick help, including medicines like antibiotics for certain conditions. Pharmacists know how to review your health background, check your condition, and provide treatment. If your health issue is more complicated, the pharmacist will point you to the right place for further help.

Pharmacy first service will enable patients to get convenient clinical advice, close to where they live, work or  shop. 

What are the Seven Common Conditions?

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

Medical Problems Age Range
Sore throat 5 years and over
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) Women 16-64 years
Ear ache/pain (Acute Otitis Media) 1 to 17 years
Infected insect bites 1 year and over
Impetigo 1 year and over
Shingles 18 years and over
Sinusitis 12 years and over

How Does The Pharmacy First Scheme Work?

If you are suffering from any of the 7 common illnesses listed, you can reach Pharmacy First in two ways:

  1. You can get yourself checked at your local pharmacy, where you can have a private consultation with a pharmacist and get medication without going to a GP for a prescription. 
  2. Your GP or healthcare provider can refer you to a participating pharmacy.

In your initial consultation, the pharmacist will ask you questions concerning your illness and recommend the best course of action for each patient, which includes  prescriptions for antibiotics or antivirals where necessary.                      

What are the Benefits of NHS Pharmacy First Scheme?

According to the PNSC 2023 pharmacy pressures survey, the demand for walk-in healthcare advice has increased compared to 2022. The survey found that 92% of pharmacy staff have noticed a big increase in requests from patients having difficulty accessing GP services. 

The Pharmacy First service in the UK offers several benefits to both the healthcare system and the public:

Improved Access to Healthcare: It provides patients with quicker access to treatment for minor ailments without the need for a GP appointment, making healthcare more readily accessible.

Reduced Pressure on the NHS: By handling minor conditions, pharmacists can alleviate the workload on GP surgeries and A&E departments, helping the NHS to focus resources on more serious health issues.

Convenience: Community pharmacies are often open longer hours than GP practices, including weekends and evenings, offering greater flexibility for people seeking advice and treatment.

Expert Advice: Pharmacists are highly trained in the use of medicines and can offer expert advice on the treatment of minor conditions, as well as provide health and wellness guidance.

Prompt Treatment: Patients can receive immediate treatment for minor ailments, reducing the duration of illness and improving overall quality of life.

Role of Pharmacy First and NHS Waiting Times

This scheme aims to free up 10 million GP appointments annually, thus reducing waiting times for more complex conditions. It is envisioned to make healthcare easier for millions of people, and provide timely and effective care for minor illnesses. 

Most people in England can easily reach a pharmacy within a 20-minute walk, as well as  more pharmacies in deprived communities, making it quicker and easier for people to get care.

Will I have to Pay for My Prescription or Medicine? 

If you are exempt from paying prescription charges the service will be free, unless any over-the-counter medicines are recommended. If you usually pay for prescriptions and need any medicines that are available under the scheme, a prescription charge will be applied. 

What If I Still Want to See My GP?

You can still see your doctor if you want. Pharmacy First gives an easy way to get help for seven health conditions, and we suggest using this service to get advice from the skilled staff at your local pharmacy, such as The Care Pharmacy in Bradford and Leeds. 

How Do I Know if My Nearby Pharmacy Offers this Service?

Over 10,000 pharmacies, which is more than 95% of all pharmacies in England, are now part of Pharmacy First Service.

Important Information to Consider

While accessing the Pharmacy First Scheme, you must provide the following information to your pharmacist: 

  1. If you are pregnant/breastfeeding
  2. If you think you might be pregnant
  3. Your health history 
  4. Medications you are already taking
  5. Any allergies you have 

Key Takeaways

Pharmacy First is a significant step towards lowering the pressure on the NHS and GPs, making healthcare more accessible to the public. It also lets local pharmacies and pharmacists take care of patients more, changing how healthcare is given and making sure people get the help they need quickly for common health issues. 


  1. Is Pharmacy First available in England?

Yes, Pharmacy First scheme is now available in England. On January 31, 2024, the government and NHS England started the Pharmacy First program. It helps patients get fast and easy care, and it also helps reduce the pressure on GP services.

  1. How can I get Pharmacy First services online?

You can access Pharmacy First services at The Care Pharmacy online. You can get prescription-only medicine free of cost under the NHS. You can also book an online consultation with the pharmacists for six clinical pathways excluding otitis media because that needs a physical examination. 

  1. Is there any charge for Pharmacy First service or medication?

You can see a pharmacist and get advice for free. But if you get NHS medicines from them, you might have to pay a charge for each item unless you’re exempt from paying for prescriptions.

  1. What is a pharmacy first approach?

You can get advice, treatments, and medicines for 7 common illnesses directly from your local pharmacy through the Pharmacy First scheme  without having to go to GP. 

  1. Can I refer myself for pharmacy first scheme?

Self-referral is possible for the seven conditions covered by the clinical pathways – acute otitis media, impetigo, infected insect bites, shingles, sinusitis, sore throat and uncomplicated urinary tract infection.

C0VID-19 Vaccine

The C0VID-19 vaccine works by training the immune system to recognise and fight the virus that causes C0VID-19, specifically its spike protein. C0VID-19 is a respiratory tract disease, mainly spread through respiratory droplets, aerosols, and direct contact with other people.

Price Per Dose: £ 59.99

Chickenpox Vaccine

Chickenpox is a common viral infection caused by the varicella zoster virus. This vaccine is suitable for adults and children aged between one and 65 years.

Price Per Dose: £ 74.99

Shingles Vaccine

Shingles vaccine helps to protect against getting shingles.Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash and It’s suitable for adults aged 50 and above.

Price Per Dose: £ 219.99

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease caused by the yellow fever virus and transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It can lead to severe symptoms, including fever, headache, jaundice, and in severe cases, organ failure and death. Travelers visiting areas where yellow fever is endemic, particularly in tropical regions of Africa and South America, are at risk of contracting the disease. The yellow fever vaccine is a highly effective preventive measure for travelers. The typical dosing routine involves a single dose of the vaccine, which provides immunity for at least 10 years. Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination for entry. It is essential for travelers to get vaccinated before their journey to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the disease.

Price Per Dose: £ 69.99


Typhoid is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. It spreads through contaminated food and water, and its symptoms include high fever, abdominal pain, and severe gastrointestinal issues. Travelers visiting regions with poor sanitation and inadequate hygiene standards are at a heightened risk of contracting typhoid. The typhoid vaccine is a crucial preventive measure for travelers. There are two types of typhoid vaccines available – the injectable vaccine and the oral vaccine. The typical dosing routine for the injectable vaccine involves a single shot. Get vaccinated against typhoid – it is essential for travelers to avoid the risk of infection and enjoy a safe and healthy journey.

Price Per Dose: £ 39.99

TBE (Tick-Borne Encephalitis)

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral disease transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks. It primarily affects the central nervous system and can lead to severe neurological symptoms, such as inflammation of the brain. Travelers visiting regions where TBE is endemic, especially during outdoor activities in wooded or grassy areas, face an increased risk of contracting the disease. The TBE vaccine provides effective protection against this potentially serious infection. The typical dosing routine involves a series of two to three doses, depending on the vaccine type used. Booster doses are also recommended to maintain immunity over time. Getting vaccinated against TBE is essential for travelers to mitigate the risk of infection and enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip.

Price Per Dose: £ 64.99


Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the nervous system and is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected animals. The virus can cause a fatal infection if not treated promptly. Travelers, especially those visiting regions where rabies is prevalent and may have encounters with stray animals or wildlife, face an increased risk of contracting the disease. The Rabies vaccine is a preventive measure to protect against rabies. The typical dosing routine involves a series of doses. Typically this is given before potential exposure to the virus or after a potential exposure to ensure effective protection. Getting vaccinated against rabies is crucial for travelers to avoid the devastating consequences of this lethal infection and enjoy a safe journey.

Price Per Dose: £ 69.99

Pneumococcal (PCV/ PPSV)

The Pneumococcal vaccine, available as pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV), provides protection against various strains of pneumococcal bacteria. These bacteria can cause serious infections, including pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections. The PCV is primarily given to infants and young children, while PPSV is typically administered to older adults and individuals with specific medical conditions.

The typical dosing routine for PCV involves a series of doses given at specific ages during infancy. PPSV requires a single dose for most individuals, with a possible booster dose after a certain period.

Price Per Dose (PCV): £ 89.99

Price Per Dose (PPSV): £ 49.99


The MMR vaccine is a combination vaccine that provides protection against three highly contagious diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. It is a crucial part of routine childhood immunizations. Also, it is recommended for adults who have not been vaccinated or lack immunity to these diseases. The typical dosing routine for the MMR vaccine involves two doses. The first dose is administered around the age of 12 to 15 months, and the second dose given between 4 to 6 years old. Getting vaccinated with the MMR vaccine is essential to prevent the spread of these potentially serious infections.

Ensure you and your loved ones are protected against measles, mumps, and rubella! Our experienced healthcare professionals are ready to provide you with the MMR vaccine. Come and get vaccinated with us to safeguard your health and contribute to a healthier community.

Price Per Dose: £ 44.99

Meningitis B

Meningitis B is a bacterial infection causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes. The risk of contracting it while traveling is generally low but increases in crowded settings. Be aware of the symptoms and ensure protection by getting vaccinated with us before your journey. Stay informed and stay safe during your travels.

Price Per Dose: £ 109.99

Meningitis ACWY

Meningitis ACWY is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The disease is caused by different types of bacteria, namely A, C, W, and Y. It can lead to severe health complications, including brain damage and death. Travelers, especially those visiting crowded settings like festivals, pilgrimages, or dormitory-style accommodations, may face an increased risk of contracting meningitis ACWY. To minimize the risk, vaccination is recommended, particularly when traveling to areas with active outbreaks or regions where the disease is more prevalent.

Price Per Dose: £ 49.99

Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection transmitted through mosquito bites, primarily found in rural areas of Asia and the Western Pacific. The disease affects the brain and can lead to severe inflammation, resulting in neurological complications or even death. Travelers visiting or residing in regions where Japanese encephalitis is endemic, especially during the peak mosquito season, face an increased risk of contracting the virus. Taking preventive measures, such as using mosquito repellents, wearing protective clothing, and getting vaccinated, is crucial for travelers to reduce their risk of Japanese encephalitis and enjoy a safe journey.

The typical dosing for the Japanese encephalitis vaccine involves a two-dose series, with the second dose administered 28 days after the first.

Price Per Course: £ 199.99


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common viral infection that is primarily transmitted through sexual contact. There are multiple strains of HPV, some of which can lead to genital warts and others that can cause various cancers, including cervical, anal, and throat cancer. Travelers, especially those engaging in risky sexual behaviors, may be at risk of contracting HPV, as the virus can be prevalent worldwide. Practicing safe sex and getting vaccinated against HPV are essential preventive measures for travelers to reduce their risk of infection and the associated health complications.

Price Per Dose: £ 164.99

Hepatitis A Typhoid Combined

The Hepatitis A Typhoid combined vaccine is a convenient option for travelers seeking protection against both Hepatitis A and typhoid fever. The typical dosing schedule involves a single shot, providing immunity against both infections. This combination vaccine saves time and effort while ensuring comprehensive coverage against these travel-related diseases.

Price Per Course: £ 89.99

Hepatitis A Hepatitis B Combined

The Hepatitis A Hepatitis B combined vaccine offers protection against both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B viruses. The typical dosing schedule involves three doses, administered at 0, 1, and 6 months. This vaccine is an excellent option for individuals seeking comprehensive protection against both hepatitis viruses in a convenient single shot.

Price Per Course: £249.99


Cholera is a severe bacterial infection causing profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting, primarily transmitted through contaminated food and water. Traveling abroad increases the risk of contracting cholera. This is especially true in areas with poor sanitation or during outbreaks. Taking preventive measures such as getting vaccinated is crucial for travelers’ protection.

The Cholera vaccine is typically administered as two-doses, the first dose given at least one week before potential exposure to cholera and the second dose taken at least one week after the first dose.

Traveling to high-risk areas? Our trained healthcare professionals are here to help! Come and get your cholera vaccine today to ensure a safe and worry-free journey.

Price Per Course: £59.99

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral liver infection primarily transmitted through infected blood or body fluids. Travelers and others in high-risk situations, such as unsafe medical procedures or unprotected sex, face an increased risk of contracting the virus. Vaccination against hepatitis B and adopting preventive measures are essential to safeguard against this serious infection.

The typical dosing for the hepatitis B vaccine involves a series of three doses. The initial dose is followed by a second dose at least one month later, and a third dose six months after the first dose. This vaccination provides long-term protection against hepatitis B.

Price Per Course: £149.99

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection that primarily affects the liver, causing inflammation and potentially leading to symptoms like fever, nausea, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). The virus is commonly transmitted through consuming contaminated food or water. While hepatitis A can occur anywhere, the risk of contracting it increases significantly when traveling abroad, especially to regions with poor sanitation and hygiene practices. Tourists may unknowingly consume contaminated food or water, putting them at risk of infection. It is crucial for travelers to be aware of the risk and take preventive measures, such as getting vaccinated against hepatitis A, to protect themselves during their journeys.

The typical dosing for the hepatitis A vaccine involves a two-dose series. The first dose is administered before potential exposure to the virus, and the second dose is given 6 to 18 months later to provide long-term immunity. For a booster dose, a single shot is usually recommended for ongoing protection after the initial series. Ensuring full vaccination with the recommended dosing schedule is essential to prevent hepatitis A infection and maintain immunity, especially when traveling to regions with a higher risk of the disease.

Price Per Dose: £59.99

Diptheria, Tetanus And Polio

Diphtheria, tetanus, and polio are significant infectious diseases to consider when traveling abroad. Diphtheria is a respiratory infection that causes breathing difficulties and potentially life-threatening complications. Tetanus, also known as “lockjaw,” induces severe muscle stiffness and spasms, transmitted through contaminated wounds. Polio is a viral infection that can lead to paralysis, impacting the nervous system. While vaccinations have controlled these diseases in many places, some regions may still pose risks.

Before traveling, it is recommended to get a single booster dose for diphtheria, tetanus, and polio. This reinforces immunity and reduces the risk of contracting these diseases in regions where they may still be prevalent. Ensure a safe and healthy journey by receiving the recommended booster before you travel.

Price Per Course: £39.99