Community pharmacies in Surrey Heartlands

Community pharmacies in Surrey Heartlands

Community pharmacists like GPs, nurses, dentists and other healthcare professionals, are part of the NHS family. Every day about 1.6 million people visit a pharmacy in England.

Find out how pharmacists can help you with medical advice and medicines in Surrey Heartlands.

Community pharmacies range from large chain stores, often on the high street or in supermarkets to smaller independently owned pharmacies often serving smaller or more rural communities. Many Pharmacies are open long hours offering healthcare advice, without the need for an appointment, when other health care professionals are unavailable.

The traditional role of the community pharmacist as the healthcare professional who dispenses prescriptions written by doctors has changed. In recent years community pharmacists have been developing clinical services in addition to the traditional dispensing role to allow better integration and team working with the rest of the NHS.

NHS Pharmacy First advanced service

Pharmacy First is a new service provided by NHS England to help you get access to the right care from the right person at the right time for seven common conditions that require advice and treatment.

Instead of having to go to your GP practice for this, which potentially could cause a delay in your treatment, you can go straight to a pharmacy offering Pharmacy First, or be referred by your GP Practice, NHS111 or another medical or emergency care setting.

The seven common conditions are:

  • Acute Otitis Media * (ear infections) - age range: 1 to 17 years
  • Impetigo - age range: 1 year and over
  • Infected insect bites - age range: 1 year and over
  • Shingles - age range: 18 years and over
  • Sinusitus - age range: 12 years and over
  • Sore throat - age range: 5 years and over  
  • Uncomplicated urinary tract infections - age range: 16 – 64 years (women only)

* Distance selling (online) pharmacies will not complete consultations for Acute Otitis Media

You will be able to access the new clinical pathway service by walking into the pharmacy directly (self-referral), or where appropriate, by contacting them by video consultation.

In addition, you will also be able to access the service through a referral from any of the following:

  • NHS 111 (online or telephone)
  • NHS App
  • Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Assessment Services
  • Urgent Treatment Centres
  • Emergency Departments
  • 999
  • General Practice 

To make sure your local pharmacy is providing Pharmacy First, or to find an alternative pharmacy near you, please use the pharmacy service finder.

Pharmacy Contraception Services available in Surrey

Women across Surrey are now able to get the contraceptive pill at their local pharmacy as part of a major expansion of healthcare services. This means women can now access the pill without needing to contact their GP or visit Sexual Health Services first.

A pharmacist may be able to supply the contraceptive pill if you need 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 to you

If the pharmacist gives you the contraceptive pill they will share this information with your GP if you give them permission.

How does the service work?

The service is provided by a pharmacist who has been trained to prescribe contraception. During the consultation, they will ask you a range of questions, including information on sexual health.

Anyone needing the pill can access it through participating pharmacies without a referral from their GP, though they can be referred by their general practice or sexual health clinic. 

To find out participating pharmacies in your local area visit:

Find a pharmacy that offers the contraceptive pill without a prescription

Pharmacy provision in Burpham and Merrow, Guildford

Following the closure of two pharmacies in the area north of Guildford:

  • Lloyds in Sainsbury’s, Clay Lane, Guildford, GU4 7JU - closed on 22 April 2023
  • Boots Pharmacy, Kingfisher Drive, Merrow Park, Guildford, GU4 7EW - closed on 6 January 2024

this briefing explains the position relating to applications for new pharmacies and also provides an update on the position with Boots Pharmacy, Epsom Road, Surrey, GU1 2RE.

Briefing document: Pharmacy provision in Burpham and Merrow, Guildford


Why should you seek the help of a pharmacist?

As qualified healthcare professionals, Pharmacists can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble, earache, cystitis, skin rashes, baby teething, red eye and aches and pains. They are also trained to provide health and wellbeing advice.

Pharmacists undertake a four year Masters in Pharmacy degree course followed by a one year placement working in a pharmacy under the supervision of an experienced pharmacist. At the end of this year they take a professional examination and those who successfully complete the examination are able to register as a pharmacist.

Pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need if your symptoms suggest something more serious, for example, they will tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.

Most pharmacies have a private consultation room where you can discuss issues with pharmacy staff without being overheard.

What can pharmacists help with?

They are the right people to see for minor health concerns such as:

  • Sore throats
  • Coughs, colds and flu
  • Tummy troubles
  • Aches and pains
  • Red eyes
  • Sleeping problems
  • Athlete's foot
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Constipation and diarrhoea

You can talk to the pharmacist or pharmacy technician in your local pharmacy. Most people live within easy reach of one, and with many now offering longer open hours, it's easier to get the help and advice you need, without having to book an appointment.

What help and services do pharmacies provide?

Community pharmacies provide a range of services and help ranging from:

  • A repeat dispensing service. This service allows you to collect your regular repeat prescription medicines direct from your local pharmacy for an agreed period of time, without having to go back to your GP. You will need to give your permission to your GP for him/her to share information with your chosen pharmacist. When you need your prescription, instead of requesting it from your GP, you will be able to get your medicines directly from your local pharmacy.
  • Blood pressure checks. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is one of the most important factors in reducing your risk of heart and circulatory diseases like heart attack or stroke, or kidney failure or diabetes complications. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so you need to check using a blood pressure monitor to find out. Everyone over 40 should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years, or annually if you have certain health conditions such as diabetes. If it has been more than five years, contact your GP or visit a community pharmacy that offers this service.
  • New Medicine service (NMS). A service for people receiving their first prescription for a medicine to treat long term conditions.
  • Disposal of unwanted medicines. If you have any medicines that you no longer use, you can take them to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
  • Other services that may be available at your local pharmacy:
    • emergency and oral contraception
    • asthma inhaler use and advice
    • chlamydia screening and treatment
    • stop smoking service
    • blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar testing
    • substance misuse service, including needle and syringe exchange schemes
    • weight management service
    • flu and COVID-19 vaccination