Pharmacy First aims to improve patient access to GP appointments by encouraging patients with certain minor ailments to use the pharmacy for treatment rather than making an appointment at the surgery.
This will relieve the pressure on current appointment schedules and allow those patients with more urgent or serious needs to see the GP sooner. The scheme covers the whole of the NHS Nottinghamshire county area including community pharmacies and all GP practices.
Patients can self-refer to any NHS Nottinghamshire County community pharmacy or referral can be made by the GP or practice staff or by any other healthcare professional.
What minor ailments can be treated at the pharmacy?
Who can use Pharmacy First?
- Patients must be registered with an NHS Nottinghamshire GP.
- The scheme treats patients over three months old with no upper age limit. Children under three months should always be treated by their doctor.
- The scheme includes all children up to 16 years old.
- Patients should be exempt from prescription charges.
- The patient should always be present at the consultation in the pharmacy.
- Medicines will not be provided for the ‘store cupboard’ or ‘just in case’.
- The pharmacist may not always provide medicines.
- Any treatment or medicines provided will always follow the guidance laid down in the agreed protocols.
- Pharmacists can only provide medicines that are listed in the agreed formulary under the Pharmacy First scheme.
- Patients who are referred to their GP by the pharmacist do not automatically ‘jump the queue’. They should receive an appointment in line with the practice’s reception protocols.
Frequently asked questions
Do I need to make an appointment to use the scheme?
No. It is possible to walk into any community pharmacy (chemist’s shop) and ask to join the Pharmacy First scheme. You will then be able to have a consultation with the pharmacist if necessary. Most pharmacies have consultation areas you can use to provide privacy.
Why do I have to bring my ill child to the pharmacy to receive treatment?
The scheme is intended for patient with minor ailments. If your child is not well enough to attend the pharmacy then it is advisable to seek advice from your surgery.
If the patient is not present at the pharmacy the pharmacist is unable to supply any treatment under the Pharmacy First scheme.
Medicines will not be provided for the store cupboard, or ‘just in case’. Only patients who present at the pharmacy with existing symptoms will be treated.
What happens when I need head lice treatment for my children?
There will be an initial consultation with the pharmacist where you will be given advice on using a head lice detector comb, provided with a leaflet about head lice, and given a free head lice detector comb.
You should then go home and follow the combing method described in the leaflet to see whether there are head lice present in the hair.
If you do find head lice, you should capture one on a piece of sellotape as evidence of infection. This is to prevent over usage and unnecessary treatment, which may lead to the head lice not responding to the products.
Return to the pharmacy with the evidence to show to the pharmacist, who will provide you with the necessary treatment.
You will receive two bottles of head lice lotion, one to use immediately, and one to use in seven days' time. This should clear up the infection.
It is good practice to comb your hair regularly with the detector comb, using the method advised in the leaflet. This can help to prevent future infection with head lice.
Why can’t I use the scheme more than twice in a month?
You may access the Pharmacy First scheme twice in any one month with the same symptoms. A third visit with the same symptoms will trigger an automatic referral to your GP for further investigation. A third visit with different symptoms would be allowed.
If you need continued treatment for a condition, it is safer to ensure your GP is aware of the situation and advise you accordingly.