Pharmacy First Advanced Service




New Advanced Pharmacy First Service  

Pharmacy First is a new service provided by NHS England to help you get access to the right care from the right person at the right time for seven common conditions that require advice and treatment. Instead of having to go to your GP practice for this, which potentially could cause a delay in your treatment, you can go straight to a pharmacy offering Pharmacy First, or be referred by your GP Practice, NHS111 or another medical or emergency care setting. 

The seven common conditions are:

  1. Ear Infections - Acute Otitis Media Distance Selling Pharmacies will not complete consultations for Acute Otitis Media - Aged 1 to 17 years
  2. Impetigo - Aged 1 year and over 
  3. Infected insect bites - Aged 1 year and over 
  4. Shingles - Aged 18 years and over 
  5. Sinusitis - Aged 12 years and over 
  6. Sore throat - Aged 5 years and over 
  7. Uncomplicated urinary tract infections - Women aged 16 to 64 years 

You will be able to access the new service by walking into the pharmacy directly (self-referral), or where appropriate, by contacting them by video consultation. In addition, you will also be able to access the service through a referral from any of the following:

  • NHS 111 Online or call 111
  • The NHS App
  • Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Services
  • Urgent Treatment Centres 
  • Emergency Departments or call 999
  • General Practice

GP referral for minor illnesses 

Pharmacy First also includes elements from the previously commissioned Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS). These elements enable you to have a consultation with a community pharmacist for minor conditions such as coughs and colds, itchy eyes, and earache.  For this service, our staff will make the appointment for you with the community pharmacy, which will either be the same day or within 12 hours depending on the time you contact us. You can also be referred through NHS111 or another medical or emergency care setting, but you cannot self-refer. 

The benefits of the GP referral service for you: 

  • You will be referred by the practice and you can visit the pharmacy, or the pharmacist will contact you by phone for a confidential consultation.
  • You can be seen more quickly as community pharmacies are usually open for longer and at weekends. 
  • The pharmacist will give you advice on how to treat your condition, which means you can start to recover more quickly.  
  • You can choose a pharmacy that is near your home or work – whichever is the most convenient for you.  
  • Depending on your condition the pharmacist may recommend over-the-counter medication which you can choose to purchase if you wish. Often, over-the-counter treatments are inexpensive and cheaper than prescription medication.  
  • If the pharmacist believes your symptoms suggest a more serious condition, they will help you arrange an urgent GP appointment or escalate to an urgent care setting.  
  • The pharmacist will make a record of the outcome of your consultation and will send this via secure digital messaging to your GP – so that your records are always up to date.  

Finding a Pharmacy First Community Pharmacy 

As this is an advanced service, Pharmacies have the option to offer the Pharmacy First services or not.

To make sure your local pharmacy is providing Pharmacy First, or to find an alternative pharmacy near you, please use the service finder on NHS website