Pharmacy First

Pharmacy First

Pharmacy First is a new national initiative launched on 29 July 2020 which replaces the current Minor Ailment Scheme.

What is NHS Pharmacy First Scotland?

  • NHS Pharmacy First Scotland is an NHS service provided by your local community pharmacy.
  • If you have a minor illness, a pharmacy is the first place you should go for advice.
  • You do not usually need an appointment and you can go to any pharmacy.
  • Your pharmacist can give you advice for a minor illness, and medicine if they think you need it.

Who is the service for?

You can use NHS Pharmacy First Scotland if you are registered with a GP practice in Scotland or you live in Scotland. Speak to the pharmacy team if you need further details.

The treatment for most common conditions is about doing the right things for yourself. However, if medication is needed then the pharmacist will make the appropriate recommendation, which will be free of charge under Pharmacy First.

Also, remember that many pharmacies are open at evenings and weekends.

How does the service work?

  • You can choose which pharmacy to use, normally without making an appointment.
  • The pharmacist (or one of their team) will ask you for some information, including your name, date of birth, and postcode.
  • If you want a specific medicine or product you may need to buy it. The pharmacist will give you advice on this.
  • If the pharmacist thinks it is better for you to see your GP, they may refer you directly or tell you to make an appointment.
  • The pharmacist will set up a Patient Medication Record (PMR) to make a note of any advice and treatment they give you.
  • You can ask to use the pharmacy’s consultation area or room if you want to speak to the pharmacist in private.

A pharmacist can give you advice and treatment (if you need it) for minor illnesses as listed below.

Acne Head Lice
Allergies Haemorrhoids (piles)
Athlete’s foot Hay fever
Backache Impetigo
Blocked or runny nose Indigestion
Cold sores Mouth ulcers
Constipation Pain
Cough Period pain
Cystitis/UTI (in women) Sore throat
Diarrhoea Threadworms
Earache Thrush
Eczema Warts
Headaches Verrucas

Find your local pharmacy

Pharmacies can also provide emergency contraceptionsmoking cessation services and repeat prescription services. A further service is their unscheduled care service, which allows them to provide up to an 8 week supply of routine medications to Scottish GP registered patients while on holiday in other parts of Scotland. Holiday-makers from other parts of the UK can receive a 5 day emergency supply, but are required to pay. Controlled drugs (morphine, tramadol etc) are excluded.

Extended Hours pharmacies are available for emergencies. Call NHS 111, or use the NHS pharmacy service to find other nearby pharmacies at