Pharmacists are experts in medicines and minor aliments and can also advise on a range of health and wellbeing issues.
All pharmacies (also known as chemists) must provide essential services which include:
Most pharmacies will also offer other advanced and enhanced services. These include:
If you are looking for a particular service it is best to contact the pharmacy first of all to make sure they offer that service. You can search for the pharmacy nearest to you by using the ‘Find your nearest service’ search to the right. The search results will display the different ways you contact the pharmacy including telephone number, email address or website if applicable. Alternatively, the NHS Choices website gives details of the facilities offered by pharmacies across the country.
The cost of prescriptions is set by the Government. The costs for prescriptions and information about exemptions from paying prescription fees can be found here.
Your community pharmacist should be your first port of call when you’re looking for general health and medicines advice. They can help you to treat common illnesses yourself without the need for a trip to the GP surgery or a prescription. Pharmacists can give you free, professional advice about most conditions as well as recommend over-the-counter medications that may cost much less than a prescribed alternative. They can also give advice about any side-effects of treatments as well as about what drugs and treatments can be used together.
Many pharmacies offer prescription collection and delivery services to make it even easier for you to get hold of your prescribed medicines. You might find this particularly useful if you have medications prescribed on a repeat prescription with your GP surgery. However, you should make sure that you only reorder items that you need, and not ‘stock pile’ lots of medicines. Once medicines have been dispensed by a pharmacist they can never be reused, even if you’ve not opened the packaging – they can only be treated as waste, and research done by the Department of Health in 2007 predicted that waste medicines cost the NHS over £100 million pounds each year.