Patient support from pharmacy

We all know that pharmacists dispense medicines, but did you know they also promote health and wellbeing, and can provide access to services including stopping smoking, sexual health and alcohol dependence support?

Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines and can advise you on the safe use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. They also offer a range of “services”, which you may be able to use – speak to your local pharmacist to find out more.

Your pharmacist will help you understand your medication and how to use it in the right way

Pharmacists play a key role in providing healthcare to patients within their local community. Pharmacists dispense your prescriptions and other medicines, offer testing and screening for common conditions and can advise on minor ailments. But they do a lot more than that. Local pharmacies offer several health services that many of us aren’t aware of.

New Medicine Service (NMS)

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The New Medicine Service is available at pharmacies to give you extra help and advice if you're just starting on a new medicine for the following conditions:

  • asthma
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • people who have been given a new blood-thinning medicine

(available in England and Wales only)

Learn more

Repeat dispensing

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Many local pharmacies can help you with your repeat prescriptions, meaning you don’t need to see your GP every time you need another prescription.

Disposing of old medicines

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Pharmacies can safely dispose of any medicine that is out-of-date, unwanted, or if some of it is left over that you are not taking any more.

Do not put it in your household bin or flush it down the toilet. Instead, take it to your pharmacy to be disposed of safely.

Minor ailments/common conditions

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Pharmacies can help with a range of common conditions and minor injuries – from aches and pains, uncomplicated cystitis, colds and skin rashes, they can offer advice and potential treatments.

If you don't pay for your prescriptions, you may be able to use the NHS Minor Ailment Scheme to get advice and, when appropriate, free treatment for certain common illnesses without seeing a GP.

The NHS Minor Ailment Scheme is available across Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland but only in selected pharmacies across England. Ask your local pharmacy whether they offer the scheme and they'll check if you're eligible to receive it.

Improving health and wellbeing

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Advice is available on general health and wellbeing, covering subjects such as diet and nutrition, stopping smoking, sexual health and losing weight.

Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment, and often pharmacies have a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard.

Date of preparation: August 2021
Reference: COB-GB-NP-00053