Pharmacy First Advanced service has launched

New Advanced Pharmacy First Service  

Pharmacy First is a new service provided by NHS England to help you get access to the right care from the right person at the right time for seven common conditions that require advice and treatment. Instead of having to go to your GP practice for this, which potentially could cause a delay in your treatment, you can go straight to a pharmacy offering Pharmacy First, or be referred by your GP Practice, NHS111 or another medical or emergency care setting.  

The seven common conditions are:  

Clinical Pathway  

Age Range 

Acute Otitis Media * (ear infections) 

1 to 17 years 


1 year and over 

Infected insect bites 

1 year and over  


18 years and over 


12 years and over  

Sore throat 

5 years and over  

Uncomplicated urinary tract infections 

Women 16 – 64 years 

* Distance selling pharmacies will not complete consultations for Acute Otitis Media 

You will be able to access the new service by walking into the pharmacy directly (self-referral), or where appropriate, by contacting them by video consultation. In addition, you will also be able to access the service through a referral from any of the following:  

·        NHS 111 (online or telephone) 

·        NHS App  

·        Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Services 

·        Urgent Treatment Centres 

·        Emergency Departments 

·        999 

·        General Practice  

GP referral for minor illnesses 

Pharmacy First also includes elements from the previously commissioned Community Pharmacy Consultation Service (CPCS). These elements enable you to have a consultation with a community pharmacist for minor conditions such as coughs and colds, itchy eyes, and earache.  For this service, our staff will make the appointment for you with the community pharmacy, which will either be the same day or within 12 hours depending on the time you contact us. You can also be referred through NHS111 or another medical or emergency care setting, but you cannot self-refer. 

The benefits of the GP referral service for you: 

·         You will be referred by the practice and you can visit the pharmacy,or the pharmacist will contact you by phone for a confidential consultation.  

·         You can be seen more quickly as community pharmacies are usually open for longer and at weekends. 

·         The pharmacist will give you advice on how to treat your condition, which means you can start to recover more quickly.  

·         You can choose a pharmacy that is near your home or work – whichever is the most convenient for you.  

·         Depending on your condition the pharmacist may recommend over-the-counter medication which you can choose to purchase if you wish. Often, over-the-counter treatments are inexpensive and cheaper than prescription medication.  

·         If the pharmacist believes your symptoms suggest a more serious condition, they will help you arrange an urgent GP appointment or escalate to an urgent care setting.  

·         The pharmacist will make a record of the outcome of your consultation and will send this via secure digital messaging to your GP – so that your records are always up to date.  

Any questions you have may be answered in our Frequently Asked Questions Pharmacy First FAQs for Patients v.1.0.pdf 

Finding a Pharmacy First community pharmacy 

As this is an advanced service, Pharmacies have the option to offer the Pharmacy First services or not. However, in Surrey Heartlands over 90% of pharmacies are providing it.  

To make sure your local pharmacy is providing Pharmacy First, or to find an alternative pharmacy near you, please use the service finder on NHS.UK website: 


Published on 31 January 2024