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How can the pharmacy help me?

The pharmacy is an accessible health resource for you and your family. Everyone can get advice from a pharmacist and buy medicine for a minor ailment or illness.

Many pharmacies are open when your GP surgery is shut (evenings, weekends and on public holidays). You don't even need to make an appointment to speak to a pharmacist.

A pharmacist provides lots of services and can help if:

You or a member of your family are suffering from a minor ailment or illness

There is a service, available from every pharmacy in Scotland, called the NHS Minor Ailment service.

Minor ailments or illnesses, which can be treated include:

  • Acne, athlete's foot, allergies.
  • Backache.
  • Coldsores, constipation, coughs.
  • Diarrhoea.
  • Earache, eczema.
  • Haemorrhoids (piles), hay fever, headache, head lice.
  • Indigestion.
  • Mouth ulcers.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Pain, period pain.
  • Sore throat, thrush, threadworms.
  • Warts and verrucas.
  • Colds.
  • Eye infections.
  • Travel sickness.
  • Teething advice.
  • Worms.

Even if you are not eligible for this service the pharmacist will be able to provide you with advice on any of the ailments/illnesses listed above.

If the pharmacist is not able to help, your GP is closed, and they feel they can refer you to an out of hours doctor without you having to call NHS 24.

You can find out more about the NHS Minor Ailment Service on the Scottish Government website.

You or a member of your family has run out of their regular repeat medication and your GP surgery is closed

If you are registered with a GP in Scotland, any community pharmacist can in certain circumstances under the NHS provide you with a supply of your regular repeat medication. This is at the discretion of the pharmacist and should only be in one off situations.

There are some medicines that the pharmacist is not allowed to supply and this service can not be used to obtain a supply of methadone or any other substitution therapy.

If you are on holiday from another part of the UK, or your regular pharmacy is closed a pharmacist can still make an emergency supply of your usual medicines.

If you are visiting from overseas, or you are not registered with a GP in the UK you need to contact a local surgery. You can find your nearest GP on NHS inform's National Service Directory or by calling NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88 (8am to 10pm, 7 days)

However, you should remember:

  • To make sure you order and collect your repeat prescription in plenty of time so you don’t run out! 
  • Remember that all GP surgeries are shut from 6pm on Friday night until 8am on Monday morning. GP surgeries are also closed on public holidays. Make sure you find out when your local public holidays are (these vary across Scotland) and when your GP will be open.
  • Not to phone NHS 24 if you have run out of your medicine, please call or visit a pharmacy first. You can find your nearest pharmacy on NHS inform's National Service Directory or by calling NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88. 

Pharmacists are experts about medicines, so any questions you have about your medicines and prescriptions can be answered by a pharmacist. 

Further information

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