NHS Pharmacy First Scotland – An Explanation

Callum Watson, our Strathblane Pharmacist Manager, explains the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland Service.

Tell us, what is the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland Service?

This service was introduced in July 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and is an NHS service provided by all community pharmacies throughout Scotland. The service offers advice, referral and treatment, if appropriate, by pharmacists and their teams for a variety of minor illnesses. If you have a minor illness, a pharmacy is the first place you should go for advice!

Unlike your GP, you do not have to book an appointment with us. You can receive advice at any time during pharmacy opening hours from our highly trained staff members. If appropriate, your pharmacist can provide advice and treatment for your minor illness, therefore there is no need to see your GP.

So, who is this service for?

You can use the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service if you are registered with a GP practice in Scotland or you live in Scotland.

How does the service work?

Pharmacists and their teams are experts in medicines and can help you with your minor health conditions. We can provide you with advice and treatment (if necessary) for a variety of minor illness such as those mentioned in the infographic.

Pharmacists, like GPs, can only provide medicines on the NHS. If you want a particular medicine which is not available through the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service, you may have to buy it. This includes branded products such as ‘Calpol’. Sometimes the pharmacist may think it is better for you to speak to your GP. If this is the case the pharmacist may refer you directly to them or tell you to make an appointment.

Great! How do I use this service?

When you visit the pharmacy of your choice, the pharmacist or one of the pharmacy team, will ask for some information including your name, date of birth and postcode. The pharmacy will create a patient medication record to make note of any advice or treatment provided. Please note, this record is kept within the pharmacy and is not shared with anyone else. You may be asked about your symptoms, your medical history and what you have tried already.

The pharmacist will:

  • Give you advice on your condition;
  • Provide medication if appropriate; and
  • May refer you to another healthcare professional

Is there anything else I should know about this service?

Please remember you can use this service in any pharmacy. You do not have to use the same pharmacy if you wish; however, I recommend using the same one as it allows the pharmacist to build a record of your treatment and helps to establish better management of your condition.

This service is fantastic if you have a minor condition, for any minor ailment you should attend your pharmacy first.  You can obtain professional healthcare advice and treatment (if necessary) without the need of an appointment.

Please do not hesitate to contact your local Davidsons chemist for more information on this service.

I hope you found my answers helpful useful and we look forward to seeing you in one of our branches soon!

Published by Callum Watson – Strathblane Pharmacist Manager