Sometimes when you or your family are unwell, you may not need to make an appointment to see your GP (family doctor). Your local community pharmacist is a trained medical professional who can provide free advice on the best treatment for a wide range of illnesses and minor ailments.
As well as free medical advice, your local community pharmacy can now also provide free medication for some illnesses and minor ailments under a scheme called Think Pharmacy First. Think Pharmacy First allows people who receive free prescriptions to go straight to their pharmacist to receive treatment without needing to visit their GP to get a prescription first.
The scheme is available to adults who are entitled to free prescriptions on the grounds of low income and their children along with all people aged 60 or over.
Which illnesses are included?
The service includes the following illnesses:
- Aches and pains
- Bites and stings
- Chicken pox
- Cold sores
- Cystitis in women
- Ear wax
- Eczema or dermatitis
- Hay fever
- Head lice
- Mouth ulcers
- Nappy rash
Where is Think Pharmacy First available?
You can go to any pharmacy across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland displaying a Think Pharmacy First window banner or door sticker to use the Think Pharmacy First scheme.
To find details of your nearest pharmacy please visit the NHS Choices website. Alternatively you can contact NHS 111.
What do I have to do?
You can go straight to any of the pharmacies across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland and you will be seen as soon as possible without having to make an appointment.
The pharmacist will speak to you about your health condition and discuss with you what treatment you might need. Many pharmacies now have a consultation area if you feel you need to discuss things in private. You will be asked questions about your symptoms, including which medicines you are taking and information about your illness.
It would be helpful if you took a list of any medicines you are using. This is to make sure that the treatment you are given is right for you. All details given to the pharmacist are confidential.
If it is appropriate, the pharmacist will prescribe the right medicine for you. The pharmacist will tell you the best way to take the medicine and give you any extra advice you need to help with your illness.
To get free treatment you will need to sign the prescription the pharmacist prescribes and show proof that you do not have to pay. Proof could be your HC2 certificate, or income support. If you sign the form but cannot show proof then the pharmacist will still provide the medicine but checks will be made later.
To receive free medicines for a child on the Think Pharmacy First scheme the parent or guardian must also be eligible for free prescriptions.