The NHS Minor Ailment Service

What is the NHS Minor Ailment Service?

  • This is an NHS service for people, including children who don't pay prescription charges
  • It means that if your pharmacist thinks you need it, they can give you a medicine for a minor illness or complaint.
  • It will save you making an appointment with your Practice simply to get a prescription for a minor complaint

Who can use this service?

You can use the NHS Minor Ailment Service if:

  • You are registered with a GP surgery in Scotland
  • You don't live in a nursing or residential care home

How does it work?

  • The NHS Minor Ailment Service is available from all community pharmacies in Scotland
  • You register for the service at the community pharmacy of your choice
  • You don't have to make an appointment
  • You will have a consultation with the pharmacist
  • The pharmacist will offer you advice. The pharmacist will decide whether you need a medicine or not
  • If you need a medicine or a product to treat your symptoms you will be given this free of charge

You will still have to go to your Practice if:

  • Your pharmacist suggests you should, or
  • You need a medicine that you can only get with a prescription from your Practice – this includes antibiotics

What does the service offer?

You will be able to get advice and free treatment (if you need it) from your community pharmacist for minor illnesses and complaints such as:

  • Acne
  • Athletes foot
  • Backache
  • Cold sores
  • Diarrhoea
  • Earache
  • Eczema and allergies
  • Haemorrhoids (piles)
  • Hay fever
  • Headache
  • Head lice
  • Indigestion
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Nasal congestion
  • Pain
  • Period pain
  • Thrush
  • Sore throat
  • Threadworms
  • Warts and verruca

Your pharmacist, like your doctor can only give out certain medicines and products free of charge. You may not get the medicine or product that you would normally buy.

If you require further information about the NHS Minor Ailments Service contact your local community pharmacy or the NHS Helpline 0800 22 44 88 (calls are free).

Adapted from the leaflet produced by the Scottish Executive – The NHS Minor Ailment Scheme at your community pharmacy Version 1 January 2007

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