Residents urged to visit their local pharmacy first for minor conditions

Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves

Thu 1st February 2024

Community Pharmacy Derbyshire is currently highlighting the launch of ‘Pharmacy First’ – a service which encourages people to head to their local community pharmacy for help with seven minor conditions which would previously have required a GP appointment.
A spokesman for Community Pharmacy Derbyshire said: “A survey by YouGov in March 2023 revealed that 75 per cent of people wanted to see pharmacies offering more healthcare services such as treating urinary tract infections or sore throats, and now they will be.
“Almost all pharmacies will offer this new service, giving advice and, if needed, NHS medicines, to treat seven common health conditions – and all without having to visit your GP practice.
“As experts in medicines and managing minor illnesses, pharmacists have been backed by Government and the NHS to provide a new NHS ‘Pharmacy First’ service.
“99 per cent of pharmacies across Derbyshire have signed up to support people in certain age groups seeking help for the following minor conditions: Sore throats, Earache, Sinusitis, Infected insect bites, Impetigo, Shingles, and Urinary tract infections in women.”
The spokesman continued: “If you have symptoms that suggest you may have one of these conditions, you can now call or walk into a pharmacy and arrange a consultation with the pharmacist.
“Under the new service pharmacists can provide advice and, if clinically necessary, will offer an NHS medicine to treat it (NHS prescription charges will apply if you normally pay for medicines supplied on prescription). Should the pharmacy team be unable to help, you may be directed to your GP surgery, an urgent treatment centre, NHS 111, or A&E, as appropriate.
“By thinking ‘Pharmacy First,’ people will find it easier and quicker to get the help they need and bypass the 8am rush to book an appointment with their GP.
“The new service is part of a wider expansion of healthcare services that will empower pharmacists to use more of their skills and give people more choice about their healthcare. It is also hoped that the service will be expanded to include more conditions in the future.”
People can find the new service at a pharmacy near them by using the NHS website at
Pharmacist and owner of Calow Pharmacy, Pete Johal, said: “My team and I are delighted to be able to offer more support than ever before to our local community. People can get the help they need to feel better faster, GP surgery queues will be reduced, and I can put my clinical skills to good use. It’s a win all round.”
Nick Hunter, chief officer of Community Pharmacy Derbyshire said: “This new service will give the public more choice about where and when they can access help with minor health conditions. Pharmacists are medicines experts and members of the public should feel assured that the healthcare advice they receive from pharmacists and their teams will be second to none.
“However, it is important to ensure that pharmacies are fully supported as patient behaviour changes and more people visit pharmacies as their first port of call for their common healthcare needs.”
Clive Newman, director of primary care at NHS Derby and Derbyshire, said: “Your local pharmacy is the first place to turn for advice and treatment over many common ailments and conditions. They are on your local high street and often open late and at weekends.
“The Pharmacy First scheme allows people to get a prescription and treatment for conditions where they would previously have had to visit their GP practice.
“That means they can get the treatment they need more quickly and conveniently from their local pharmacist. This is better for patients, and it frees up time for GPs and their teams.”

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