NHS Pharmacy First Scotland

Pharmacy services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

With current public health advice around coronavirus, some services may:

  • Not be available
  • Be operating different opening times
  • Be closed temporarily

We recommend that you contact the service prior to attending.

NHS Pharmacy First Scotland is an NHS service provided by your local community pharmacy.

If you have a minor illness, a pharmacy is the first place you should go for advice.

You do not usually need an appointment and you can go to any pharmacy.

Your local pharmacist or a trained member of the pharmacy team will give you advice and provide medicine if needed. They may need to refer you to another healthcare professional such as your GP practice, dentist, optometrist or another NHS service if they feel your condition needs further investigation or more specialist care.

Who can use NHS Pharmacy First Scotland?

You can use NHS Pharmacy First Scotland if you are registered with a GP practice in Scotland or you live in Scotland.

Speak to the pharmacy team if you need more details.

How does the service work?

Pharmacists and their teams are experts in medicines and can help with minor health concerns.

A pharmacist, or a member of the pharmacy team, can give you advice and treatment (if you need it) for various minor illnesses and common clinical conditions.

Conditions you can get help for

Your pharmacist can advise you about conditions such as:

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Backache
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Cold sores
  • Colic
  • Constipation
  • Contraception
  • Cough
  • Cystitis (in women)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry Skin-eczema/dermatitis
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Headlice
  • Haemorrhoids (piles)
  • Hay fever
  • Insect bite
  • Impetigo
  • Indigestion
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nappy rash
  • Pain
  • Period pain
  • Ring worm
  • Scabies
  • Scalp disorders
  • Shingles
  • Skin infections
  • Sore throat
  • Threadworms
  • Thrush
  • Urinary tract infections (UTI’s)
  • Verrucas
  • Warts

Pharmacists, like GPs, can only provide certain medicines and products on the NHS. All of these are proven to be effective in treating your condition.

If you want a specific medicine or product, you may need to buy it. The pharmacist will give you advice on this.

Some pharmacists have an additional prescribing qualification which allows them to prescribe a wider range of medicines, normally only available from your GP practice.

If the pharmacist, or a member of their team, thinks it is better for you to see your GP or another healthcare professional, they may refer you directly or tell you to make an appointment.

How do I use the service?

NHS Pharmacy First Scotland is available from all pharmacies in Scotland that dispense NHS prescriptions.

You can choose which pharmacy to use.

In most cases, you don’t have to make an appointment.

When you visit the pharmacy, the pharmacist (or one of their team) will ask you for some information, including your name, date of birth and postcode.

The pharmacist, or a member of their team, will:

  • Ask you about your symptoms
  • Give you advice on your condition
  • Provide medication (if you need it)
  • Refer you to another healthcare professional (for example, your GP) if they think this is necessary
  • Set up a Patient Medication Record (PMR) to make a note of any advice and treatment they give you

You can ask to use the pharmacy’s consultation area or room if you want to speak to the pharmacist in private.

Can I still go to other pharmacies?

You can go to any pharmacy to buy medicines, collect prescriptions or use the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service. You don’t need to always use the same one.

However, if you always use the same pharmacy, the pharmacist can build a record of your treatment, which may help you to manage your condition more effectively. This record is not shared with anyone else.

What if I’m unhappy with the service I have received from the pharmacy?

Talk to the pharmacist so they can try to sort the matter out immediately. Most pharmacies have their own complaints procedures. If you’d like to make a complaint, please contact the pharmacy manager in the first instance.

If you can’t do this, or if you have already spoken to your pharmacist and are still unhappy, you can contact the feedback and complaints team at your local NHS health board.

Patient leaflet and translations

The Scottish Government website has an NHS Pharmacy First Scotland patient leaflet which is also available in alternative languages.