Think Pharmacy First

If you normally get your prescriptions free of charge and you’re feeling unwell, visit your pharmacist first. They can give you advice and treat a range of common ailments without the need for a doctor’s appointment. If you want to talk in private ask to use the consultation room. All pharmacies operating the scheme have them.

What is Pharmacy First?

Pharmacy First is a scheme available for children and people who don’t have to pay for their prescriptions and are suffering from a common ailment.

Your local pharmacist can offer you expert advice and medicines for a wide range of common ailments without the need to visit your GP. No appointment is necessary but you will need to give the pharmacist your NHS number, or your child’s NHS number to receive advice and, where appropriate, medicines free of charge.

If you do not know your NHS number you can contact your GP practice and ask them to look it up. To protect your privacy, they may ask you to show them a passport, driving licence or some other proof of who you are.

What is a common ailment? 

A common ailment can be an illness or condition that affects your health but can easily be treated with over the counter medicines.

What common ailment are included in the scheme?

Some of the common ailments included are:

  - Earache    - Teething     - Sore throat     - Acute bacterial conjunctivitis     - Warts, verrucas      

  - Constipation, diarrhoea       - Haemorrhoids       - Vaginal thrush       - Athlete’s foot

All of these conditions can be treated with over the counter medicines from your local pharmacy. The pharmacist isn’t required to give you brand named medicines and may choose a suitable alternative. 

Find out more about your local community pharmacies by visiting the Staffs and Stoke Pharmacies website.

Their website holds detailed information about common ailments and the supply of emergency medicines.


Remember to take the following information to the pharmacy with you:

  • Your NHS Number or your child’s NHS number

  • Passport, driving licence or some other proof of who you are

  • Proof of exemption from paying prescription charges.


Think Pharmacy First for the advice you need to get you on the road to recovery. Your pharmacy can offer advice if you’re worried about your symptoms and alert you to warning signs that may suggest you need to see your GP or seek further medical advice.

Take a look at the slideshow for more information.

This information is also available in the Think Pharmacy First Leaflet . There is also a poster Think Pharmacy First Poster

May Bank Holiday opening times for pharmacies

Think PHARMACY FIRST and go to a community pharmacy for help and advice. Pharmacy First Services help ease pressure on the NHS acute services and help patients access the care they need.

Pharmacy opening times over the May Bank holiday break.