What Services are offered by Pharmacists?

Pharmacies or chemists dispense prescribed and off the shelf medicines. Many also provide additional services for patients and customers such as:

  • advice about minor illnesses and conditions
  • advice on how to manage your medicines
  • leaflets on health matters
  • advice and support to nursing and residential homes
  • blood glucose monitoring
  • blood pressure measurement
  • herbal remedies and alternative medicine
  • emergency hormone contraception

Do I Have To Pay For My Prescription?

A charge is made for each item on NHS prescription however some people don't have to pay. You can get free NHS prescriptions if, at the time the prescription is dispensed, you:

  • are 60 or over,
  • are under 16,
  • are 16 – 18 and in full-time education,
  • are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx),
  • have a specified medical condition and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx),
  • have a continuing physical disability which means you can't go out without help from another person and have a valid MedEx,
  • hold a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability,
  • or you are an NHS inpatient.

You are also entitled to free prescriptions if you or your partner (including civil partners) are named on or are entitled to an NHS tax credit exemption certificate or a valid HC2 certificate (full help with health costs), or you receive either:

  • Income Support,
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance,
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit.
  • Find out more about the NHS Low Income Scheme (LIS).

To find out if you qualify for free prescriptions please read leaflet HC11 “Are you entitled to help with health costs”, which is available from pharmacies, main Post Offices, social security offices and some doctors' surgeries. It is also available online from the Department of Health website(external link).

If you think you will have to pay for more than five prescription items in four months or 14 items in 12 months, you may find it cheaper to buy a pre-payment certificate (PPC). You can find out more about PPCs from the Prescription Pricing Division(external link).

What If I Need To See A Pharmacist Out Of Hours?

Certain pharmacies open voluntarily outside of normal working hours. For more information about Pharmacy opening times please go to NHS Choices or see our pharmacy opening hours for bank holidays.

Advice From Your Pharmacist

Pharmacists can provide advice on a range of issues. They help to highlight a number of health campaigns throughout the year including:

  • stop smoking advice
  • sun sense advice
  • winter flu advice
  • medicines management