Information on national pharmacy services

Published on: 10th July 2024 | Updated on: 10th July 2024

This webpage provides information on national pharmacy services in England. The webpage is intended to be used by non-healthcare professionals, for example patient groups, where they can find out more information about pharmacy services and what resources are available to share with their audiences.

The webpage is currently being updated to include more information and resources which can be used to help make patients aware of the free NHS services available to them in community pharmacies.

If you require further information on a service, or if there is a resource that you would like to see developed, to help promote the service to patients you support, please email services.team@cpe.org.uk.


Click on a heading below for more information

Pharmacy First service

What is the Pharmacy First service?

The NHS Pharmacy First service supports people in certain age groups who need help with:

  • Earache (aged 1 to 17 years)
  • Impetigo (aged 1 year and over)
  • Infected insect bites (aged 1 year and over)
  • Shingles (aged 18 years and over)
  • Sinusitis (aged 12 years and over)
  • Sore throats (aged 5 years and over)
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women (aged 16 to 64 years)

If a person has symptoms that suggest they may have one of these conditions, they can walk into a pharmacy and be offered a consultation with a pharmacist in a private consultation room. A person can also be electronically referred by certain healthcare professionals including a person’s GP to a pharmacy of their choice for the service.

Pharmacists will provide advice and, if clinically necessary, offer the person an NHS medicine to treat their condition (NHS prescription charges apply if the person normally pay for medicines supplied on prescription).

An electronic message will be sent to the person’s GP surgery so their GP health record can be updated. Should the pharmacist be unable to help, the person will be directed to their GP surgery or other health professional as appropriate.

Template news story aimed at patients (longer version)
A template news story that can be used on websites or in newsletters.

Template news story aimed at patient s(short version for newsletters)
A shorter template news story that can be used in newsletters.

Animation for patients

The below animation is aimed at patients and provides clear and concise information about the Pharmacy First service, highlighting the seven conditions and the eligible age ranges within the clinical pathways consultations and explaining how patients can access those.

The animation can be used to communicate the benefits and scope of the Pharmacy First service to  patients. For example, the animation can be linked to social media content and you can download a copy to play on digital screens.

Watch the animation: 

You can show the animation at meetings directly from the Community Pharmacy England website, but if you need access to a downloadable version, please email: comms.team@cpe.org.uk

Open this folder to download the following resources:

  • Full animation
  • Full animation with subtitles
  • Clip 1: About the service and how it works
  • Clip 2: The value of the service
  • Social media cards
  • Suggested tweets/posts

NHS Flu Vaccination Service

***Delayed start date for the 2024/25 Flu Vaccination Service***

What is the Flu Vaccination Service?

Each year pharmacy teams provide an NHS Flu Vaccination Service to people aged 18 years and older who are eligible to receive a free vaccination.

Delayed start for the 2024/25 NHS Flu Vaccination Service

NHS England has decided that most eligible people won’t be offered an NHS flu jabs until at least October 2024 this year (pregnant women can be vaccinated from 1st September 2024). In previous years flu jabs have been offered from September.

The change in the timing follows clinical advice from the Government’s independent clinical advisors, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, that starting later would be better for patients.

This is because the positive effect of the flu vaccine – increasing people’s protection from flu viruses – reduces over time following the vaccination. Getting the vaccination at a slightly later time will make it more likely that the person’s immune response to the virus is higher when flu virus levels are at their highest.

Resources to promote the service to patients and the public

People with learning disabilities and the flu injection
Easy-read information with information for people with learning disabilities, their family, carers and paid supporters (National Development Team for Inclusion).

NHS England short video on flu vaccination for people with a learning disability and autistic people
The video covers why it is important eligible people have a flu vaccination, who is eligible for a free vaccine, reasonable adjustments, consent and decision making. A parent of a 16-year-old with a learning disability describes how primary care can support families to make sure their relatives can have their vaccination.

The flu jab for people with learning disabilities
YouTube video showing a patient with learning disabilities having a flu vaccination (NHS England).

Find our more information on flu vaccines

There is more information on flu vaccines on the NHS website.

Find a pharmacy that provides the NHS Flu Vaccination Service

On the NHS website, there is a webpage that allows patients to enter their postcode to find a nearby pharmacy that offers the NHS Flu Vaccination Service.

NHS Blood Pressure Check Service

What is the NHS Blood Pressure Check Service?

Pharmacy teams are offering free NHS blood pressure checks to people aged 40 and over, often with no appointment necessary. This involves around 10-15 minutes in the pharmacy consultation room with pharmacy staff. Following this, patients may be invited to take home a blood pressure monitor that measures the patient’s blood pressure as they go about their daily life. Depending on the patient’s blood pressure reading they may be referred to their GP. The pharmacy staff will guide the patient through any necessary steps depending on their blood pressure result.

Find a pharmacy that provides the NHS Blood Pressure Check Service

On the NHS website, there is a webpage that allows patients to enter their postcode to find a nearby pharmacy that offers the NHS Blood Pressure Check Service.

Resources to promote the service to patients and the public

Tweet templates

NHS Pharmacy Contraception Service

What is the NHS Pharmacy Contraception Service?

A pharmacist may be able to supply the contraceptive pill if a patient needs to:

  • Start using the contraceptive pill for the first time
  • Start the contraceptive pill again after a break from taking it
  • Get a supply of the contraceptive pill if it’s already been prescribed

If the pharmacist gives a patient the contraceptive pill they will share this information with the patient’s GP if they give permission for them to do so.

Find a pharmacy that provides the NHS Pharmacy Contraception Service

On the NHS website, there is a webpage that allows patients to enter their postcode to find a nearby pharmacy that offers the NHS Pharmacy Contraception Service.

NHS COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test service

What is the NHS COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test service?

Pharmacy staff can provide free COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests to patients if they’re at risk of being seriously ill with COVID-19 (and would therefore be eligible for treatment for COVID-19).

Find out which patient groups are at risk of being seriously ill with COVID-19 and are therefore eligible for free COVID-19 lateral flow tests

When patients collect free COVID-19 tests, they’ll need to tell the pharmacy their:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • medical condition

If they’ve been sent a letter or email from the NHS about COVID-19 treatments, they should show this at the pharmacy to help confirm their eligibility.

Anyone collecting COVID-19 tests on their behalf will also need to give their name and address.

Find a pharmacy that provides the supply of free NHS COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests

On the NHS website, there is a webpage that allows you to enter your postcode to find a nearby pharmacy that offers free COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests.

For more information on this topic please email comms.team@cpe.org.uk

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