The New NHS Minor Ailment Service at Your Community Pharmacy

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A new service for people who don't pay prescription charges.

Promoting Health through Pharmaceutical Care

WHAT IS THE NHS MINOR AILMENT SERVICE?

Everyone can go to their pharmacist for advice or to buy a medicine for a minor illness or ailment.
But this is a new NHS service for people, including children, who don't pay prescription charges. It means that if your pharmacist thinks you need it then they can give you a medicine on the NHS without you having to pay for it. It will also save you making an appointment with your GP simply to get a prescription.

WHO IS THE SERVICE FOR?

You can use the NHS Minor Ailment Service if:

  • you are registered with a GP surgery in Scotland, and
  • you don't pay for your prescriptions, and
  • you don't live in a nursing or residential care home.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

  • You register for the service with the community pharmacy of your choice.
  • You don't have to make an appointment. You can go along at a time that suits you.
  • Your consultation will always be with a qualified pharmacist.
  • If your pharmacist thinks that you need a medicine or product to treat your symptoms they will give you this without you needing to pay.

HOW DO I REGISTER?

  • You can register for the NHS Minor Ailment Service at a community pharmacy of your choice. You can do this at any time.
  • Your pharmacist will ask you for some details - your name, date of birth, gender, and postcode. He or she will also check whether you pay for your prescriptions.
  • Your pharmacist completes a form which you must sign to register for the service.
  • You will be asked to mark the reason why you don't pay for your prescriptions on the form.
  • Your pharmacist may ask you for proof of your exemption, for example your maternity or medical exemption certificate or HC2 certificate. Try to remember to bring this information with you if you think you might need to.
  • Your pharmacist will print a separate form for each member of your family, including children.
  • You can only register with one community pharmacy at a time for the NHS Minor Ailment Service.
  • If you want to go to another community pharmacy for the NHS Minor Ailment Service, you can. But you will need to register with the new pharmacy.
  • If you do register with a new community pharmacy you will no longer be registered at the pharmacy where you were registered before.

YOU WILL STILL HAVE TO GO TO YOUR GP IF:

  • your pharmacist suggests you should, or
  • you need a medicine that you can only get on prescription from your GP.

WHAT DOES THE SERVICE OFFER?

  • You will be able to get advice and free treatment from your community pharmacist for minor illnesses and ailments such as:

acne
athlete's foot
back ache
cold sores
constipation
cough
diarrhoea
ear ache
eczema and allergies
haemorrhoids (piles)
hay fever
headache
head lice
indigestion
mouth ulcers
nasal congestion
pain
period pain
thrush
sore throat
threadworms
warts and verrucae

  • If your pharmacist feels that it is better for you to see your GP then they may refer you directly or tell you to make an appointment with your GP.

CAN I STILL GO TO MY GP?

  • Yes. You can still make an appointment with your GP if you feel this is more suitable.

CAN I STILL GO TO OTHER PHARMACIES?

  • Yes. You can still use other pharmacies to buy medicines or to pick up your prescriptions.
  • But remember, you can only use the NHS Minor Ailment Service at the community pharmacy you've registered with.

WHAT IF I'M NOT HAPPY?

  • If you are not happy with the service you are given, speak to your community pharmacist.
  • If you are still not happy after you've done this, you can make a complaint. The leaflet Making a complaint about the NHS explains how to do this. You can get the leaflet from most NHS services, or at www.scotconsumer.org.uk/hris

HOW TO FIND OUT MORE

For more information about anything in this leaflet, contact:

  • your local community pharmacy
  • your GP or another member of NHS staff involved in your care
  • the NHS Helpline on 0800 22 44 88 (calls are free), or
  • your local citizens advice bureau (find your nearest bureau on the internet at www.cas.org.uk or in your local phone book)