Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns. You can search for your local pharmacy by selecting the pharmacy option on the service search tool on this page.

As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains.

If symptoms suggest it's something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. For example they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.

All pharmacists train for 5 years in the use of medicines. They are also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice.

Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You do not need an appointment.

Most pharmacies have a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard.

Pharmacists can answer your questions on prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

All pharmacies provide the following services:

  • dispensing of NHS prescriptions
  • access to the repeat prescription service (with agreement from your GP)
  • an emergency supply of medicine, subject to the decision of the pharmacist (you may need to pay for an emergency supply)
  • non-prescription medicines like paracetamol
  • disposal of unwanted or out-of-date medicines
  • advice on treating minor health concerns and healthy living

Pharmacy technicians can help with things like:

  • inhaler technique
  • how to take a medicine safely
  • helping you understand the correct dose of a new medicine and how often you need to take it

Some pharmacies will deliver your prescription medicines to you, but you may need to pay for this service. You can use the Find a pharmacy service and check the treatments and services page of the pharmacy profile to see if they offer this service.

Repeat prescriptions can be issued in 2 different ways:

  1. You order the prescription to be approved by a GP each time you need a refill.
  2. You order the prescription once and a GP approves a series of refills for you. They are sent to the pharmacy automatically, so you do not need to order them each time. This is called electronic repeat dispensing. The GP surgery or pharmacy will let you know when you need to re-order your prescription.

In both cases, you can:

  • choose a specific pharmacy (nominated pharmacy) to collect your prescriptions from each time – call or contact the pharmacy online a few days before you run out of medicine to check your prescription is ready to collect
  • decide each time you're given a prescription where to collect it – you'll be given a paper copy with a barcode to take to any pharmacy in England, or the pharmacy can find your prescription using your NHS number

As part of the repeat prescription service, the pharmacist will ask if you're having any problems or side effects with your medicines and, where appropriate, they can discuss this with you and your GP.


You can order a repeat prescription online using:

See how to order repeat prescriptions online

Meet your Community Pharmacy Team

What does a clinical pharmacist do?