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Medicines - what you need to know

Your local pharmacy is the place to go to get any prescription medicines and clinical advice for minor health concerns. But they do a lot more than that.

As well as helping with common illnesses – like sore throats, coughs, colds, tummy troubles and aches and pains – pharmacy teams can also help with stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol, advice on safe sex and emergency contraception. 

Many pharmacies are open until late and at weekends. You don't need an appointment – you can just walk in. Find a pharmacy near you.

Most local pharmacies have consultation rooms for private conversations. Your pharmacist can also talk to you confidentially without anything being noted in your medical records, which some people may prefer.  

Getting advice from a local pharmacist is the best first step for a minor health concern. But if you think you or your family member are more seriously ill, then a GP or hospital may be more appropriate.

Only order what you need!

There are ways you can help reduce the cost of wasted medicines! Remember, only order what you need and help us make more of your local NHS.

When you order your repeat prescriptions, make sure you only order what you need. You will help reduce waste as medicines that you don’t use won’t be stockpiled at home.

Take medicines as advised - medicines are also wasted when you don’t take them as advised. Not completing a full course of medicines could have an impact on your health. 

It's also worth knowing

Medicines can't be recycled - you can return unused or unwanted medicines to your doctor or pharmacy, but that same medication can't be given to another patient - the medicines can only be disposed of as waste. The best thing to do is make sure you only order the medicines you need. 

Medicines have an expiry date - if you stockpile medicines at home this could have an impact on your health as you run the risk of taking medicines that are out of date. 

How can I take more control of my medicines? 

One of the easiest ways for you to make sure that you only get the medicines you need is to order your repeat prescriptions online or using an app.  You can see exactly what medicines are on your prescription so you only order what you need. 

It's quick and easy to order your repeat prescriptions online, and available 24/7 - and you don't have to make a journey to your GP practice. You can also request to be setup for patient online access on behalf of somebody you care for.  

To register for online services, you will need to take some photo ID and proof of address to your GP practice and ask to be set up for patient online services.


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