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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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When to visit a pharmacy

Pharmacists and chemists play a key role in providing quality healthcare to patients. Working in the community, primary care and hospitals, 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. A pharmacist has to be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and has to have worked for at least a year under the supervision of an experienced and qualified pharmacist, either in a hospital or community pharmacy (local chemist's shop).

Pharmacists and chemists also offer advice on common problems 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.

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 dispense your prescriptions and other medicines, offer testing and screening for common conditions and can advise on minor ailments.

The services that may be available from your local pharmacy are:

  • Emergency contraception
  • Truss fittings
  • Incontinence supplies
  • Needle exchange and supervised drug administration
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Stop smoking services
  • Medicines Use Reviews
  • New Medicine Service
  • Chlamydia screening and treatment
  • Weight management


Minor ailments include:

  • Bugs and viruses
  • Minor injuries
  • Tummy troubles
  • Women's health
  • Skin conditions
  • Allergies
  • Aches and pains
  • Children's problems