The Pharmacy First service is available at participating community pharmacies across Northern Ireland.
If you have an everyday health condition, you can use the Pharmacy First service to get advice and treatment from a local pharmacist, without waiting for an appointment to see your GP.
Many community pharmacies have longer opening hours including weekends and holidays, making them more accessible than a GP surgery.
You can call into the pharmacy for a private consultation with the pharmacist without needing to make an appointment.
There are four services within Pharmacy First:
- Pharmacy First for Every Day Health Conditions
- Pharmacy First for Emergency Hormonal Contraception (the morning after pill)
- Pharmacy First for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Pharmacy First for Sore Throat (selected pharmacies)
This service is offered from every community pharmacy in NI and provides advice and if necessary treatment for conditions such as:
- athlete’s foot
- groin infection
- head lice
- mouth ulcers
- oral thrush
- vaginal thrush
The morning after pill is available from the majority of pharmacies across Northern Ireland.
If you are aged 13 or older, you can now get the morning after pill free from community pharmacies across Northern Ireland.
When using this service, you will receive a private and confidential consultation with the pharmacist without the need to make an appointment. The pharmacist will provide sexual health advice which includes the risks of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and how to obtain free tests if needed.
As well as providing free emergency contraception, the pharmacist will give you advice about regular methods of contraception. They may also give you a free three months’ supply of the contraceptive pill.
What is the morning after pill?
- The morning after pill is taken after unprotected sex to help prevent an unplanned pregnancy
- You can take the morning after pill up to five days after unprotected sex but the sooner you take it the more effective it will be.
- The morning after pill is not an abortion. It aims to prevent pregnancy by delaying the release of an egg. It does not work if taken after the egg has been released.
- Your pharmacist will advise you to use additional contraception in the days following emergency contraception.
- Although emergency contraception is available to those under 16 years of age there are guidelines when providing it. Your pharmacist will discuss these with you at the time.
- The most effective emergency contraceptive is the copper coil. For more information on how to access this, see https://www.sexualhealthni.info/contraception
Community pharmacies across Northern Ireland will be able to provide further information about the service and have information leaflets available.
If you are female and aged between 16 and 64 you can be assessed and treated for Urinary Tract Infection symptoms in the majority of community pharmacies without having to wait for a GP appointment.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- A UTI can affect your bladder, urethra and kidneys.
- Symptoms include a burning sensation when peeing and needing to pee urgently or more often than usual.
- Following advice from your pharmacist many UTIs can be treated with simple medications that help with pain and fever.
- Many UTIs clear up in a few days without the need for an antibiotic
You will have a confidential consultation with the pharmacist in a private area of the pharmacy. Your symptoms will be assessed and a urine sample taken if necessary.
The pharmacist will provide advice regarding self-care and what to do if your symptoms do not clear up or get worse. Treatment to relieve UTI symptoms is free of charge and an antibiotic may be provided if needed.
Pharmacists will follow-up with a phone call 72 hours after your initial consultation. They may provide further advice or refer you to your GP if your symptoms have not cleared up or have got worse.
The Pharmacy First Service for sore throat will be offered in 42 community pharmacies across Northern Ireland from November 2023 to March 2024.
Anyone over the age of four with a sore throat can access the service in a participating pharmacy.
A sore throat is often caused by a viral infection. Symptoms can last for around a week and usually get better without antibiotics.
The pharmacist will offer a confidential consultation in a private area of the pharmacy where they will discuss how you are feeling and the symptoms you are experiencing.
The pharmacist may carry out a test, usually a throat swab similar to a covid test, to find out why you have a sore throat.
Treatment is available free of charge to relieve symptoms such as pain and fever. The pharmacist will also offer advice and if the throat swab suggests that you have a bacterial sore throat they may supply antibiotics if needed.
If your symptoms do not improve or get worse the pharmacist may advise you to see your doctor.
Check the lists below to find a pharmacy near you offering this service:
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust area
|Boots, 35/47 Donegall Place, Belfast, BT1 5AW
|Boots, 423 Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3LH
|Boots, Unit 7 Park Centre, Donegall Road, Belfast, BT12 6HN
|Medicare Pharmacy, 16 Forestside Shopping Centre, Belfast, BT8 6FX
|Coopers Pharmacy, 155 Andersonstown Road, Belfast, BT11 9EA
|Gordons Chemists, 167/169 Shankill Road, Belfast, BT13 1FP
|Gordons Chemists, 35/45 Castlereagh Road, Belfast, BT5 5FB
|Williamson’s Chemist, 9 Finaghy Road South, Belfast, BT10 0BW
Southeastern Health and Social Care Trust area
|Boots, Sprucefield Shopping Centre, Lisburn, BT27 5UJ
|Boots, Ards Shopping Centre, Newtownards, BT23 4EU
|Boots, Bloomfield Centre, Bangor, BT19 7HB
|Gabbies Phaarmacy, 16 High Street, Killyleagh, BT30 9QF
|Gordons Chemists, 16 Railway Street, Newcastle, BT33 0AL
|Gordons Chemists, 33 High Street, Ballynahinch, BT24 8AB
|Portaferry Pharmacy, 39 High Street, Portaferry, BT22 1QT
|Sweeney’s Pharmacy, 52 High Street, Holywood, BT18 9AE
Northern health and Social Care Trust area
|Bannside Pharmacy, 77 Main Street, Portglenone, BT44 8HR
|Boots, Abbeycentre, Longwood Road, Newtownabbey, BT37 9UH
|Boots, Tower Centre, Wellington Street, Ballymena, BT43 6AH
|Coagh Pharmacies, 11 Main Street, Coagh, BT80 0EN
|Pharmacy Plus, 40 Rashee Road, Ballyclare, Co Antrim, BT39 9HJ
|Ballee Pharmacy, 8 Ballee & Harryville, 20 Antrim Rd, Ballee, Ballymena, BT42 2BJ
|Magherafelt Healthcare, 38 Rainey Street, Magherafelt, Co Derry, BT45 5AQ
|Wilkinson Chemists, 62 Main Street, Garvagh, BT51 5AE
|Campbells Pharmacy, 8 Dunluce Street, Portrush, BT56 8DN
Southern Health and Social Care Trust area
|Boots, Oaks Centre, Oak Road, Dungannon, BT71 4NA
|Boots, Rushmere Shopping Centre, Craigavon, BT64 1AA
|Michael Dorman Pharmacy, 6A-6B Lineside, Coalisland, BT71 4LP
|McCartans Pharmacy, Unit 5 Fiveways, 99 Armagh Road, Newry, BT35 6PW
|Gordons Chemists, 19 Newry Street, Banbridge, BT32 3EA
|Gordons Chemists, 26 Greencastle Street, Kilkeel, BT34 4BH
|Johnston’s Pharmacy, 4-8 Gallows Street, Dromore, BT25 1BG
|McKeevers Pharmacy, 139 Railway Street, Armagh, BT61 7HT
|Campbells Pharmacy, 11 William Street, Lurgan, BT66 6JA
Western Health and Social Care Trust
|Belmont Pharmacy, Da Vinci’s Complex, Culmore Road, Derry, BT48 8JB
|Boots, Crescent Link Retail Park, Derry, BT47 6SA
|Brookmount Pharmacy, 48D Brookmount Road, Omagh, BT78 5HY
|Armstrong’s Pharmacy, 119 Main Street, Lisnaskea, BT92 0JD
|Gordons Chemists, 3 High Street, Enniskillen, BT74 7DH
|Bradley’s Pharmacy, Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre, Derry, BT47 6DF
|Medicare Pharmacy, 6A Beechmount Avenue, Strabane, BT82 9BD
|Murphy’s Pharmacy, 165 Spencer Road, Derry, BT47 6AH