Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can also help you with minor health concerns.

As qualified healthcare professionals, they can dispense prescribed medication and offer free clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of common ailments, such as coughs, colds, skin rashes, bites and aches and pains.

Pharmacies throughout Wales offer a Common Ailments Service. The Common Ailments Service offers patients a free NHS consultation and free medication for 27 common ailments that cannot be managed by self-care alone, offering an alternative to making an appointment with the GP or an out-of-hours doctor.  
The conditions are:

•Nappy rash
•Athletes Foot
•Dry Eye
•Oral thrush
•Backache (acute)
•Cold sores
•Head Lice
•Sore throat
•Conjunctivitis (bacterial)
•Ingrowing toenail
•Vaginal thrush
•Dermatitis (dry skin)
•Mouth Ulcers

Pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need. So, if your symptoms suggest that you need to see another healthcare professional (e.g. a GP, nurse, optometrist or dentist), then your pharmacist will point you in the best direction.

Most pharmacies also provide a range of other services, such as emergency contraception, seasonal vaccinations, emergency medicines supply, health checks, needle exchange facilities, and over the counter medication.  
Additionally, Pharmacist Independent Prescribing services are available across Wales where suitably qualified and competent pharmacist independent prescribers can prescribe for a range of minor illnesses not covered by the common ailment service, and for routine contraception.  
You can use our pharmacy search directory to find your nearest pharmacy and filter your search results by selecting the service you require, e.g. ‘Provides Emergency Contraception’. Alternatively, contact your local pharmacy to find out more about the services it provides.

Some pharmacies in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area also offer urinary tract infection (UTI) testing. You can use our pharmacy search directory to find your nearest participating pharmacy and filter your search results by selecting ‘UTI Pharmacy Service’.

You do not need an appointment to go to a pharmacy and many are open until late with pharmacy services being accessible from a range of superstores, frequently operating outside the usual high street pharmacy opening hours. However, the opening hours of pharmacies may differ on weekends and bank holidays.

Find your nearest pharmacy and its opening hours.

Frequently asked questions

Pharmacies may close at short notice and it is advised that you check they are open and have what you require before travelling.

What if I can’t find a pharmacy that’s open?

If you want to purchase general pain relief, cold and flu medicines or baby products after your nearest pharmacy has closed, you may be able to purchase them from a nearby convenience store, garage or petrol station. You can also use our pharmacy search directory to find other pharmacies in your area.

Where can I get my prescription dispensed at evenings or weekends?

Most pharmacies are open on a Saturday, but usually participate in rota arrangements to cover Sundays, bank holidays and evenings. Your local pharmacy will usually have a notice in their window directing you to nearby alternative pharmacies available during their closed period, and most health board social media channels, as well as local newspapers, will carry details of pharmacy rotas for the area.

To find which local pharmacies are open outside of normal working hours, use our pharmacy search directory and filter the results by selecting ‘Out of Hours Service’.

What if I run out of prescribed medication and my GP surgery is closed?

If you have run out of your prescribed medication you can use our Accessing Medicines guide to find out where to get help.

If you run out of your prescribed repeat medication and it is outside of your GP surgery’s usual working hours (e.g. Monday to Friday 6.30pm to 8.00am, Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays), then you can visit some pharmacies in Wales for an Emergency Medicines Supply Service, free of charge.

The service is only for patients who have an immediate need and cannot wait until their GP surgery reopens.

It is important that:

  • You attend in person - you cannot send a representative to the pharmacy.
  • You must be able to provide proof that you are on the medication requested. For example, an empty medicines packet or bottle with your name label or a repeat prescription slip.
  • You contact the pharmacy ahead of travel to make sure that this service and your medication is available.

Pharmacies not commissioned to provide the Emergency Medicines Supply Service free of charge can still provide an emergency supply of medication under specific circumstances, but patients may be charged for this. Please note:

This service is only available in genuine emergencies. It applies to most prescription drugs but not controlled drugs, and it is at the pharmacist's discretion to use their professional judgement as to whether they feel the supply is appropriate.

To find a pharmacy offering this service, use our pharmacy search directory and filter the results by selecting ‘Emergency Medicines Supply (EMS)’.

Will I have to pay for my prescription?

Since the 1st of April 2007, pharmacies in Wales stopped charging for dispensing prescriptions permitting it was written by a GP in Wales. From the same date, prescription pre-payment certificates were no longer available for Welsh patients.

I live in Wales close to the border but my GP is in England where prescriptions cost more. Will I need to pay for my prescriptions?

Since 1st August 2006, qualifying patients (i.e. those living in Wales but registered with a GP practice in England) have been able to apply to their Shared Services Partnership for an entitlement card. Cardholders can get their prescription dispensed for free, providing they take it to a Welsh pharmacy to get it dispensed.

Can I take my prescription to a pharmacist outside Wales?

You can take your prescription to any pharmacist. However, a prescription written in Wales and presented to a pharmacy in England will be subject to the prescription charges and rules currently in force in England.

What is the Yellow Card Scheme?

The Yellow Card Scheme allows patients to report any unwanted side effects caused by medicines which they are taking by completing a Yellow Card and sending it to the medicines watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The MHRA collects the information and uses it to monitor the safety of medicines available on the market. This includes herbal remedies, prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines.

You can obtain a Yellow Card from a pharmacy or GP surgery, by downloading the Yellow Card app, downloading the Yellow Card form, or by calling the Yellow Card hotline on 0808 100 3352 (Monday to Friday 10am -2pm).

The quickest way to report suspected side effects is on the MHRA website.

If you are worried about possible side effects of your medicine, you can speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice.

Pharmacy links

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain is the professional body for pharmacists. Its aim is to develop the pharmacy profession and ensure that the services pharmacists offer are the best for patients and the public.

The General Pharmaceutical Council 
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is the independent regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises in Great Britain. It works to assure and improve standards of care for people using pharmacy services.

NHS Prescription Services 
NHS Prescription Services manage a range of services within the NHS in England, like those undertaken by the HSW and the Business Services Centres in Wales. It also produces the Drug Tariff used by both Welsh Government and the Department of Health.

You can also visit individual Health Boards for information on how pharmacy services are organised on a local basis.