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Pharmacy First Minor Ailments Service

Pharmacists play a key role in providing quality healthcare to patients. Working in the community, pharmacists use their clinical expertise together with their practical knowledge to ensure the safe supply and use of medicines by patients and members of the public.

You can talk to your pharmacist in confidence, even about the most personal symptoms and you don't need to make an appointment. It is possible to walk into any community pharmacy and ask to speak with the pharmacist. They may be able to spend some time with you. Most pharmacies now have a private consultation area where patients can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard by other members of the public.

Pharmacists offer advice on common problems and minor ailments such as coughs, colds, aches and pains, as well as healthy eating and stopping smoking. They can also help you decide whether you need to see a doctor.

Find out how long it takes for coughs, colds and sore throats to clear up on their own or with a little help from your community pharmacist.

To find a pharmacy in your area please click here. 

What your pharmacy is for


Pharmacy First Minor Ailments Service in Eastern Cheshire Pharmacies

Many pharmacies within Eastern Cheshire offer the Pharmacy First Minor Ailments Service. As an alternative to visiting your GP, the service aims to make it easier for you and your family to get healthcare and advice on minor ailments at a time that suits you. Listen to our radio advert to hear what the Pharmacy First Minor Ailments Service can do for you.

Your local pharmacist can offer advice and, if necessary, prescribe medication to treat the following ailments under the Pharmacy First Minor Ailments Service:

  • conjunctivitis
  • cystitis
  • impetigo
  • oral thrush in babies (with treatment of nipple thrush in breastfeeding women if necessary)

Click here for the names, addresses and opening times of Eastern Cheshire pharmacies providing the Pharmacy First Minor Ailments Service. Also included are details of pharmacies providing the service in South Cheshire and Vale Royal.

Click here for a poster telling you more about what the service entitles you to.

Click here if you're a pharmacist referring a patient to their GP.

Click here if you're a pharmacist looking for the prescription drugs funded by the CCG for minor ailments service.

Click here for a leaflet telling GP practices when they can refer patients to the service.

Consultations are always free and confidential, regardless of whether the pharmacist gives you any medication.

If you do not have to pay for your prescription from your doctor, then the medication prescribed for you by the pharmacist will also be free of charge.

If you normally pay the standard fee for your prescription, then this would be the maximum amount you would be charged. However, in many circumstances, the medicine will be cheaper to buy over the counter and the pharmacist will advise you of this. 

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society video below summarises the services your pharmacy can provide to ease pressure on GP practices and A&E departments.

Prescription charges (from 1 April 2018)

The NHS prescription charge in England for each medicine or appliance dispensed is £8.80.

If you are not entitled to free prescriptions, you may benefit from buying a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC). The cost of a PPC is £29.10 for a 3 month certificate. The cost of the annual (12 month) certificate is £104. PPCs offer savings for those needing 4 or more items in 3 months or 13 or more items in one year. The price for the PPC is fixed until April 2017. You can apply for a pre-payment certificate by calling 0300 330 1341.

Charges for wigs and fabric supports will increase by an average of 1.7 per cent.

NHS optical vouchers available to children, people on low incomes and people with complex sight problems will increase by an overall one per cent.

You will not have to pay for prescriptions if  any one of the following applies. You are:

  • in receipt of income-related employment and support allowance, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, pension credit guarantee credit or universal credit (including partners);
  • aged under 16;
  • aged under 19 and in full-time education;
  • age 60 or over;
  • getting child tax credit or working tax credit and are named on a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate;
  • an NHS hospital in-patient;
  • receiving treatment for a sexually transmissible infection if the medication is supplied by a hospital or Primary Care Trust clinic;
  • receiving treatment for tuberculosis - the drugs in relation to your treatment are free;
  • subject to a community treatment order - the drugs in relation to your treatment are free.


You are entitled to an exemption certificate for free prescriptions if you:

  • are pregnant or have had a baby during the last twelve months and hold a valid maternity or valid medical exemption certificate;
  • a war/service pensioner and the prescription is for your accepted disablement;
  • are undergoing treatment for cancer or the effects of cancer or the effects of cancer treatment.


If you are a cancer patient your certificate will last for 5 years and will entitle you to all your prescriptions free of charge, not just those relating to cancer. This certificate can be renewed as many times as necessary and will not have to be returned if your condition changes.


You are also entitled to a medical exemption certificate for free prescriptions if you have one of the following specified health conditions:

  • you have a continuing physical disability that prevents you from leaving home without the help of another person (excluding temporary disabilities);
  • you have a permanent fistula requiring continuous surgical dressing or an appliance (e.g. colostomy);
  • you have diabetes mellitus (except where treatment is by diet alone), myxoedema, hypoparathyroidism, diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism, forms of hypoadrenalism (including Addison’s disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential, and myasthenia gravis;
  • you have epilepsy, requiring continuous anti-convulsive therapy.


To get an exemption certificate for one of these health conditions, you need to claim on form FP92A, available from your doctor, hospital or pharmacist.

You (and your partner) are entitled to free prescriptions if you have a valid HC2 certificate (full help with health costs) under the Low Income scheme. For further details click here.

 Click here for more information on NHS health costs and here for information on prescription prepayment certificates.




Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment

The Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment is a statutory document that assesses the pharmacy needs of the local population. This includes dispensing services as well as public health and other services that pharmacies may provide.

The document is used as the framework for commissioning pharmacy services in a defined area.

NHS England teams are mandated under the same regulations to use the PNA when making decisions on applications to open new pharmacies and dispensing appliance contractor premises.

Public health teams and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will also use the PNA to inform their commissioning decisions, when commissioning local services from community pharmacies.

Robust, up-to-date evidence is important to ensure that community pharmacy services are provided in the right place and meet the needs of the communities they serve.

A new PNA has been produced on behalf of the Cheshire East Health and Wellbeing Board, and covers the period 2018-2021.