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Pharmacies and use of Health Services

What do Pharmacies offer?

Your local pharmacy can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses such as colds, flu, minor rashes and pain relief. They can also help answer any questions you may have about the medication you are taking.

Many pharmacies are open late into the evening and all have a consultation room so you can talk in private. Pharmacist advice can also include recommending you to see your GP or attend urgent care services.

Pharmacies are highly trained health professionals who provide the following services:

  • the dispensing of medicines
  • over the counter remedies
  • disposal of unwanted or out-of-date medicines
  • confidential advice and treatment of minor health concerns and healthy living

Local Pharmacies

Information about your local pharmacy

Many local pharmacies are open on weekends and bank holidays. If you need a pharmacy or a prescribed medicine dispensed, including palliative medicines (those prescribed for end for life care), during a bank holiday period, please check the opening hours using this link: Find opening times and contact details of your local pharmacy.

Out of hours medicine

If you run out of medicine outside GP practice's normal opening hours and need some urgently, there are a few ways to get an emergency supply quickly, even if you're away from home. 

Other pharmacy services

  • Other services that may be available at your local pharmacy include:
  • you may be referred to a pharmacy for advice after calling NHS 111
  • emergency contraception
  • asthma inhaler use and advice
  • chlamydia screening and treatment
  • stop smoking service
  • blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar testing
  • substance misuse service, including needle and syringe exchange schemes
  • weight management service
  • flu vaccination


Repeat Prescriptions

Patients, or a nominated person, need to order a repeat prescription directly from their GP practice. Repeat prescriptions are not generated automatically unless you receive your medication in a monitored dosage system, for example a dosette box or a blister pack.

If you are unable to order your own medicines then a relative or carer can do this on your behalf. If this is not possible the staff at your GP practice or local pharmacy will be able to help you.

How to order a repeat prescription

There are a number of different ways that you can request a repeat prescription:

  • Order online via your GP practice website
  • Download and order via the NHS App
  • Tick the items you need on the white, tear-off section of your prescription and give to your surgery
  • Post the repeat prescription to your GP practice

When to order your medicines

Make sure you have a 7 to 10-day supply of your medicines left before ordering, and only order the medicine that is needed. Surgeries need two to three working days to issue a repeat prescription. After this, a further three days is needed for the pharmacy to process a prescription.

Online repeat prescription services

You can order a repeat prescription via the NHS App on your smartphone or tablet. Ordering online is a safe, quick way to order repeat prescriptions.

To order online you will need to register, which may require you to show identification and a proof of address. Speak to your GP practice to find out more.


Prescription costs and help towards paying for a prescription

How much is the NHS prescription charge?

Most adults in England have to pay prescription charges. Some items are always free, including contraceptives and medicines prescribed for hospital inpatients. For current prescription and other charges check the NHS Prescription Charges page.

Prescription Prepayment Certificate

If you know you'll have to pay for a lot of NHS prescriptions, it may be cheaper to buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) – effectively a prescription "season ticket". A PPC covers all your NHS prescriptions, including NHS dental prescriptions, no matter how many items you need. Find out more about Prescription Prepayment Certificates.

Free prescriptions

Some people are entitled to free NHS prescriptions. See who is eligible here: NHS: Who can get free prescriptions

NHS Low Income Scheme

If you have a low income, you may be able to get help with NHS costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS).

The scheme covers:

  • prescription costs
  • dental costs
  • eye care costs
  • healthcare travel costs
  • wigs and fabric supports

Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme.






Last updated: 24/01/2022

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