Community pharmacies, also called chemists, are one-stop health shops, offering services ranging from dispensing prescription medicines, selling medicines over the counter, giving advice on minor ailments, to providing services to help you to stop smoking and manage conditions such as asthma.
Do I need to see my doctor?
All pharmacists have to be registered with the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland.
They can give you expert advice on medicines, as well as many common conditions, without an appointment and sometimes outside usual hours.
They are often worth visiting before you head to your local doctor and can help you decide whether you really need to see your GP.
Pharmacists can also give you information about other local health services.
Getting medicines on prescription
Pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines – dispensing and supply is an important part of their job.
You can obtain both over-the-counter medicines (which do not need a prescription from your doctor) and prescribed medicines from a pharmacist.
Repeat dispensing means they can supply you with prescribed medicines for up to a year, without you having to see your GP each time a prescription runs out.
Getting advice on self-medication
Self-medication for common ailments has become more and more popular, especially with the growing number of over-the-counter medicines that are available.
Your pharmacist can advise you on the most effective treatments and make sure that you aren’t treating yourself with an over-the-counter product that clashes with a prescription medicine.
They can also dispose of out-of-date medicines.
Finding your nearest local Pharmacist
You can find the location of your nearest local pharmacy by going to the HSC Service Finder website
You can find details of pharmacy rotas across Northern Ireland on the Business Services Organisation (BSO) website.