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Pharmacy First scheme to treat seven common conditions launches in north central London

A person is standing outside a pharmacy holding the side of their face in discomfort. The sign above the pharmacy reads 'This earache is getting worse pharmacy'  A lower third box features in the bottom on the image. Text in the box reads: 'Think pharmacy first'

97% of local pharmacies in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington have signed up to treat people for seven common, minor conditions without them needing to see a GP.

The NHS hopes Pharmacy First will make it easier for people to quickly get the help they need while freeing up millions of GP appointments.

The seven common conditions that pharmacists can now help people with are:

  • Sinusitis (adults and children aged 12 years and over)
  • Sore throat (adults and children aged 5 years and over)
  • Earache (children and young adults aged 1 to 17 years)
  • Infected insect bite (adults and children aged 1 year and over)
  • Impetigo (adults and children aged 1 year and over)
  • Shingles (adults aged 18 years and over)
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections, like cystitis (women aged 16 to 64 years).

Anyone who thinks they might have one of these conditions can go to a pharmacy and ask for a consultation with and help from a pharmacist. If a pharmacist thinks you needs urgent help instead, they’ll refer you to a GP surgery or a local urgent or emergency care service.

The NHS has created a video with a local pharmacist to explain the benefits of the new Pharmacy First scheme to patients, while local healthcare services in north central London have also produced a short video with Enfield pharmacist Arif Vardalia talking about Pharmacy First.

The NHS hopes to expand the Pharmacy First service to include more conditions in the future.

Pharmacy First is part of a growing range of services available at many community pharmacies in north central London. These include:

  • The ‘Self Care’ free over-the-counter medicines scheme for people and parents on low incomes, in full-time education or training, or who are homeless
  • Oral contraceptives, which are now available at pharmacies without needing to see a GP
  • Free blood pressure checks for most over 40s, helping prevent heart attacks and strokes
  • For eligible residents, the shingles vaccine (available all year), flu and COVID-19 vaccines (when these are available).

Contact your local pharmacy to see if they’re offering these new services, find their details on the NHS website.