Your local pharmacy should always be your first choice for help, advice and treatment for common conditions.


If you or your family become unwell, you may not always need to see a doctor or get a prescription. Local pharmacies offer many of the same services local GPs do.

Community pharmacists are qualified health professionals who can offer expert advice on lots of minor ailments and conditions. They can help you with common problems such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as perform health checks and screenings and treat minor injuries and ailments.

What common conditions can a pharmacist help with?

Your local pharmacist can help with allergies, athlete's foot, insect bites and stings, common cold, cold sores, conjunctivitis. constipation, coughs, cystitis, decongestants, diarrhoea, dry skin, earache, earwax, fever (children and adults), flu, haemorrhoids, hayfever, headaches and migraines, heartburn and indegestion, mouth ulcers, nappy rash, oral thrush, pain, scabies, sore throat, sprains and strains, sunburn,  teething, threadworms, thrush and warts and verrucas.

Visit your Pharmacy First

Patients can now get treatment for seven common conditions directly from their local pharmacy. This includes prescription-only medicines, including antibiotics and antivirals where clinically appropriate, to treat seven common health conditions without the need to visit a GP.

The Pharmacy First scheme was launched by the government and NHS England on 31 January 2024 to give patients quick and accessible care and ease pressure on GP services.

What are the seven common conditions?

  • Sinusitis (aged 12 years and over)
  • Sore throat (aged 5 years and over)
  • Earache (aged 1 year to 17 years)
  • Infected insect bite (aged 1 year and over)
  • Impetigo - a bacterial skin infection (aged 1 year and over)
  • Shingles (aged 18 years and over)
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women (women aged 16 years to 64 years).

You can get treatment for these conditions by walking into the pharmacy or contacting them virtually. GP receptionists, NHS 111, and providers of emergency care will also be able to direct patients to pharmacies, that offer the service, if contacted.

What will happen when I arrive at the pharmacy?

The pharmacist will be able to speak to you privately in a separate consultation room. They may perform an examination or ask to access your medical records. The pharmacist will be able to recommend the best course of action on an individual patient basis, including by issuing prescriptions for antibiotics or antivirals where necessary.



Other benefits from your pharmacy

  • You don’t need to make an appointment to see your pharmacist.
  • Your local pharmacy will have a consultation room allowing for privacy.
  • By visiting a pharmacist first, it helps to make more GP and emergency appointments available for people with more complex healthcare needs.
  • Many illnesses can be treated with over-the-counter medicines and advice from your pharmacy.
  • A pharmacist will signpost you quickly to the right medical care if you have anything more serious.
  • A pharmacist can advise on how long you can expect to experience symptoms for.

Pharmacists across the Black Country played a significant role in the COVID-19 pandemic response by offering COVID-19 vaccines at their own premises and to others in the community to make sure they reach as many as possible. They also continue to offer the flu vaccine.


Many common conditions can be treated at home with the support of your local pharmacy if needed. Over the counter products for self-care are things like pain relief, hay fever medication and cough and cold remedies. These items can be bought from pharmacies and supermarkets without a prescription. They are also often cheaper this way. You can get them without an appointment or seeing a doctor. 

An important part of self-care is making sure you are equipped to look after you and your family. You can do this by ensuring you have a medicine cabinet fully stocked with essential medicines and products.

Visit our self-care pages - it identifies a range of common ailments and conditions that can be treated at home.

To support self-care at home, keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet with essential medicines and products such as:  

  • painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen  
  • antihistamines  
  • anti-diarrhoeal medicine  
  • oral rehydration salts 
  • indigestion treatment 
  • first aid kit including plasters, bandages and a thermometer. 

Visit the NHS website for a full medicine cabinet list.

Don’t keep or use medicines after their expiry date. Take them to your local community pharmacy where they can be disposed of safely.

Some pharmacies offer late-night and 24-hour opening.

Find your nearest pharmacy and its opening times here.

If your symptoms do not improve after visiting your pharmacy, or you start to feel a lot worse, contact your GP, call 111 or go online to A&E and 999 should only be used for life threatening emergencies. 

Some patients accessing NHS111 will be referred for an appointment with a community pharmacist depending on their need. GP practices are also refering patients to community pharmacists for minor conditions.

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