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Health Matters

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By Dr Frances Buckle
Health Matters

NHS Pharmacy First Scotland

I HAVE become aware that many of my patients have not heard of this service, so I wanted to take the opportunity to give some information on what medications and treatments are available without a prescription at a pharmacy.

Pharmacy First is an NHS service that allows patients to use their community pharmacy as their first port of call for non-urgent minor illnesses and some common conditions, rather than going to their GP or A&E. As well as helping to relieve pressure on these services, Pharmacy First may be a quicker and more convenient way for you to get treatment.

You usually do not need an appointment, anyone who lives in Scotland can use it and it is available at all pharmacies across the country. A pharmacist (or a team member) will ask you about your symptoms, offer advice and may provide medication if needed. If they are unable to help or feel you need to be seen by another healthcare professional, they will advise on this. They may keep a record of the advice and/or medication given and will sometimes inform your own GP. Pharmacists can only provide certain medication and products on the NHS, so if you want something very specific you may need to buy it.

Every pharmacy offers this service, though if for example a locum pharmacist is working, they may not have done the relevant training and might have to direct you elsewhere.

Common conditions that can be managed by Pharmacy First:

* Skin and hair: bacterial skin infection/cellulitis (flucloxacillin antibiotic), impetigo, dry skin and eczema, headlice, scabies, shingles, warts and verrucas, fungal skin infection, acne, dry or scaly scalp

* Eye: conjunctivitis, dry eyes, allergy/hayfever

* Ear: wax, ear canal infection

* Nose: hayfever and congestion

* Mouth: ulceration and inflammation, oral thrush, cold sores

* Genital: vaginal thrush

* Gut: threadworm, simple acid reflux, constipation, haemorrhoids, acute diarrhoea, irritable bowel related cramping

* Migraine

* Travel sickness

* Some dressings/bandages

* Simple pain relief (including for children)

* Urinary tract infections (cystitis) – non-pregnant women between 16 to 65 can get antibiotics for a simple UTI but there are strict criteria, and you will be asked questions to ensure it is safe to get this under Pharmacy First. For example, if you have fresh blood in your urine, have a catheter, are on immune-suppressing medication or symptoms that suggest a kidney infection, you would be asked to speak with your GP instead.

Dumfries and West, Front

25th Jul

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