NHS Service

What is Pharmacy First?

The Pharmacy First service at Touchwood Pharmacy is designed to give you quick and convenient access to NHS healthcare for common conditions and ease pressure on busy GP surgeries. If you're suffering from one of seven common illnesses, Touchwood Pharmacy’s qualified pharmacists can assess your symptoms and provide treatment directly without the hassle of trying to find a GP appointment.

Best of all, if you can’t get to the pharmacy, our Pharmacy First Online Video Consultation Service means you can speak with one of our experienced pharmacists from the comfort of your own home. We’ll arrange free next day delivery of any treatment prescribed by the pharmacist.

Travel Clinic Sydenham - Touchwood Pharmacy

How does the Pharmacy First service work?

Browse the Symptom Checker below to find a Pharmacy First service for you. The Symptom Checker shows the conditions and symptoms that Pharmacy First can help with and will you determine your eligibility for each Pharmacy First service.

Once you’ve found the Pharmacy First service for you, book an appointment for your online consultation by clicking on the Book Appointment button. This will arrange a time for one of our pharmacists to reach out an assess your condition in a video call.

One of our qualified pharmacists will arrange for a video consultation. You will receive an email in your inbox with a link to the online consultation. During the consultation, the pharmacist will assess your symptoms and discuss your needs.

Following a comprehensive evaluation of your condition, our pharmacist will take the time to discuss various treatment options with you in detail. Together, you and the pharmacist will determine the most suitable course of treatment tailored to effectively manage your condition and alleviate your symptoms.

Once your treatment plan is finalized, our pharmacy team will prepare your Pharmacy First treatment. We then arrange next-day delivery straight to your doorstep. This eliminates the need for an extra trip to the pharmacy, allowing you to focus on getting better in the comfort of your own home.

The consultation will usually take around 10 minutes, but it may vary depending on your condition.

What conditions can be treated by Pharmacy First at Touchwood Pharmacy?


Inflammation of the sinuses, causing facial pain, congestion, and discharge.

Sore Throat

Pain and discomfort in the throat, often accompanied by difficulty swallowing.


Pain in the ear, which can be caused by infection, inflammation, or other factors.

Infected Insect Bites

A bite from an insect that has become inflamed, swollen, and potentially infected.


A contagious bacterial skin infection that causes red, blistering sores.


A painful rash caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox).

Shingles vaccination information and early warning signs

Uncomplicated UTIs In Women

Infections of the bladder or urethra


Adults and children aged 12 years and over


Sinusitis is an inflammation of the tissue lining the sinuses, which are hollow cavities in your face and skull. These cavities normally produce mucus, which helps keep the inside of your nose moist and trap dust, allergens, and germs. When the sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, germs can grow and cause an infection.


Pharmacy First Sinusitis Service may be able to help if you are suffering from symptoms such as:

  • Blocked or congested sinuses
  • Nasal discharge that is green or yellow in colour
  • Facial pain or headache with pressure or tenderness around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead
  • Lost or reduced sense of smell
  • Toothache or jaw pain
  • Raised temperature
  • Cough
  • Symptoms have not improved for more than 10 days


If your symptoms have been present for more than 12 weeks, or if you are pregnant and aged under 16, then you should arrange to see your GP. Similarly, if you have been diagnosed with a suppressed immune system, then you will need to see your GP.

Adults and children aged 5 years and over


A sore throat is simply a scratchy or painful feeling in your throat. It's often caused by a cold or flu virus, making it painful to eat, drink and swallow. Luckily, most sore throats go away by themselves within a week or two. However, some sore throats require additional treatment.


The Pharmacy First Sore Throat Service may be able to help if you’re suffering from:

  • Sore painful throat
  • Fever
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Inflamed tonsils
  • Patches of white pus on the tonsils


If you are pregnant and aged under 16, then you should arrange to see your GP.

Children aged 1 to 17 years


An earache is a pain or discomfort felt in one or both ears. It can be sharp, dull, throbbing, or burning.  Earaches are very common, especially in young children.


The middle ear, the space behind your eardrum that contains tiny bones, gets swollen and inflamed and can sometimes lead to an infection called acute otitis media which can require additional treatment.


It can be a challenge to diagnose in very young children but Pharmacy First may be able to help if your child is suffering from symptoms like:

  • Pulling or tugging at their ears
  • Acting fussy or cranky
  • Not eating well
  • Seeming out of it or restless
  • Runny Nose
  • Cough


If you or your child has had multiple bouts of otitis media (3 or more in 6 months or 4 or more in 12 months), or if you are under the age of 16 and pregnant, then you should arrange to see your GP.


Please note: The Pharmacy First Earache Service is not available for Online Video Consultation. Please book an appointment for an in person consultation.

Adults and children aged 1 year and over


Insect bites are a part of life. But sometimes a bite from a spider, tick or bug can turn nasty. This happens when harmless bacteria on your skin enter the wound created by the bite. Often this occurs as a result of scratching an itchy bite which can break the skin and introduce bacteria from your fingers. In rare cases, the insect itself might carry bacteria that cause infection when it bites you.


Luckily, Pharmacy First may be able to help If you were bitten more than 2 days ago and the bite is:

  • Swollen
  • Red
  • Painful or sore
  • Warm to the touch
  • Weeping (leaking fluid or puss)


If you are aged under 16 and are pregnant, then you should arrange to see your GP.

Adults and children aged 1 year and over


Impetigo is a contagious skin infection caused by bacteria. It's most common in young children, but anyone can get it. Also known as school sores, impetigo is usually not serious but can sometimes need additional treatment in order to get better.


The Pharmacy First Impetigo Service may be able to help if you have:

  • Red sores or blisters on the skin
  • These sores tend to occur on exposed skin on the face, limbs, or between creases and folds of the skin
  • Sores or blisters that have burst leaving behind a golden-brow, crusty patches
  • These patches are often sore or itchy, get bigger and spread to other areas of the body


If you have already experienced a bout of impetigo in the previous year, or if you are aged under 16 and are pregnant, then you should arrange to see your GP.

Adults aged 18 years and over


Shingles happens when the chickenpox virus becomes reactivated after lying dormant in your nerves often for many years. The main symptom is a painful rash with blisters that appears in a band-like pattern, typically on one side of your face or body. Shingles is more common in adults over 50 and people with weakened immune systems but anyone who has previously had chickenpox can be affected.


Pharmacy First at Touchwood Pharmacy should be your first port of call if you’re experiencing symptoms like:

  • Painful or tingling feeling on an area of skin
  • Development of a bumpy red rash after a few days. It is often on the stomach or chest, but it can appear anywhere.
  • Rash is confined to only one side of the body.


If you are pregnant and suspect that you have shingles, you should speak to your GP.

Women aged 16 to 64 years


A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common infection that happens when germs, usually bacteria, get into your urinary tract. Your urinary tract is the system that makes and gets rid of urine. It includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. UTIs can be very uncomfortable and sometimes require antibiotics.


Pharmacy First at Touchwood Pharmacy may be able to help if you’re suffering from:

  • Needing to urinate more often than usual
  • Discomfort or pain when urinating
  • A sudden or urgent need to urinate (especially at night)
  • Cloudy urine


Patients who are pregnant, use a urinary catheter, or who have suffered recent UTIs (2 in the last 6 months, or 3 in the last 12 months) should arrange to see their GP.


If you are suffering any of the below symptoms, you should seek a same day appointment with your GP or arrange to see an out of hours doctor:

  • Kidney pain or tenderness in the back behind the ribs
  • Fever
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Shaking chills
  • Nausea or vomiting

These could be symptoms of a more serious condition that need urgent attention.


Pharmacy First consultations are free to all eligible NHS patients in England. If you are eligible for free prescriptions in the UK, any medication recommended by the Touchwood Pharmacy pharmacist will also be free.

There might be a charge for the medication if you usually pay for prescriptions, but it won't be more than the standard prescription charge.

Pharmacy First can provide treatment for 7 conditions that could previously only be obtained from a doctor. These conditions are:

  • Sinusitis
  • Sore throat
  • Earache*
  • Infected insect bites
  • Impetigo
  • Shingles
  • Uncomplicated UTIs in women

*The Pharmacy First Earache service is not available for online video consultation.

Pharmacy First offers a quicker and more convenient way to get help for minor issues compared to booking a GP appointment. The service is designed to address seven specific conditions. If you're experiencing one of these, a pharmacist can assess you and potentially provide medication. Please use the symptom checker above to see the eligibility criteria for each of the Pharmacy First conditions.

If you have more complex health needs the Pharmacy First scheme may not be right for you. In this case our pharmacists would recommend that you see your GP for more specialized investigation and treatment.

Accessing the Pharmacy First service is as simple as booking an online appointment at touchwoodpharmacy.com. Use the symptom checker above to determine your eligibility, then book an appointment by clicking on the ‘Book Appointment’ button.

Before your appointment, you will receive an email with a link to the online video consultation. You should be sure that your camera and microphone are ready to receive the online consultation.

During the consultation you will need to provide your full name, date of birth and address. If you are eligible for free NHS prescriptions, you will need to inform us which category exempts you from paying the prescription charge. You can find more information about prescription charge exemption categories here.

Any medicine prescribed by our pharmacist will be shipped for next day delivery with Royal Mail.

If you are eligible for free NHS prescriptions, then there will be no charge for the Pharmacy First treatment provided by the pharmacist.

If you do not qualify for free prescriptions, then there will be a charge of the NHS prescription fee.